Having only completed the eighth grade, James David Jackson worked in a low-paying laborer position at a sawmill, one of the few job options within his area for someone who hadn’t finished high school. Today, James’ life is completely different. He was empowered with support from two Job Corps Centers.
“I am now working in a field that I had dreamt about since I was a child,” Jackson said. “I will move forward to further my career using the lessons I have learned during my time enrolled in the Job Corps program.”
James is a 2018 healthcare graduate of Charleston Job Corps. He is now working as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) on a neuroscience medical-surgical unit at the Charleston Area Medication Center while also pursuing an Associate of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Rio Grande.
Jackson completed the Practical Nursing program at the Garnet Career Center in Charleston after completing his training at Charleston Job Corps as part of Job Corps’ Advanced Career Training program in which students can attend college or other advanced vocational programs at no cost to themselves and continue to live on center. His goal is to become a registered nurse.
“The Job Corps Program helped prepare me for work and furthering my education by helping me to work toward reaching my goals on center and encouraging me to always aim higher,” said Jackson. “The goal-oriented style of learning that was provided helped me to achieve my goals. These goals were initially small; however, I gained more confidence in my invested time and work with each goal I completed.”
Jackson also completed the Pharmacy Technician, Certified Nursing Assistant and Dental Assistant training programs at Charleston Job Corps and earned numerous accreditations including: Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) – West Virginia Department of Education; national and state Certified Pharmacy Technician; West Virginia Certified Nursing Assistant; the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Infection Control certification; and DANB Radiation Health and Safety certification. This is quite a list of accomplishments considering James’ childhood challenges.
In addition to earning a high school diploma and completing his career technical training programs, Jackson was active in the center’s Student Government Association and dorm leadership and worked under the Leisure Time Employment program as a CNA in palliative care at the Hubbard Hospice House located just across the street from the Charleston Job Corps Center.
“My life post-Job Corps has improved immensely,” said Jackson. “I currently have a job that I love, maintain an independent place of residency of my choosing, and can afford the time to strive further into my nursing career.”