Alaska Job Corps Center

Alaska Job Corps students gain hands-on experience in Oregon

August 31st, 2017

Some of them cooked meals for firefighters battling wildfires. Others provided security for a major solar eclipse event by working side-by-side with local law enforcement. During the last couple of weeks, 15 Alaska Job Corps students traveled to the Timber Lake Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Estacada, Oregon, where they worked up to 16 hours a day gaining direct experience as paid student-employees in the Culinary Arts and Security and Protective Services fields.

Seven of Alaska Job Corps’ Culinary Arts students made the trip to Timber Lake, where they were sent out to fire camps to prepare meals for firefighters. A couple of the students were also able to work directly with some of Timber Lake’s major employers, including Bridgetown Natural Foods.

Eight Security and Protective Services students also traveled to Timber Lake, where they helped local law enforcement officials protect and control a large crowd of viewers of the solar eclipse. They also provided traffic control to keep individuals out of wildfire zones.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Don Weston, a Security and Protective Services student who traveled to Timber Lake. “It was amazing because I got to see new places and faces, meet new people and work and live in a completely different environment.”

According to Alaska Job Corps Center Director Malyn Smith, this paid work-based learning experience at Timber Lake allowed Alaska Job Corps students to attain the experience that not only enhances their resumes, but gives them the opportunity to hone and diversify their skill-sets.

“Experiences like these really broaden the horizons for these students,” said Smith. “By traveling to a new place, working in a new environment and using different skills, our students get out of the classroom and learn more about the real world of employment. This is why our work-based learning programs are so important.”

Smith also added that the Timber Lake Job Corps Center Director said that the students did an excellent job, with many of them working above and beyond what was expected of them.

“Even though they were working up to 16 hours a day, some of the students just did not want to stop working,” she said. “This was really a great experience for these students.”

The partnership between Alaska Job Corps and Timber Lake Job Corps began in 2008, when Alaska Job Corps began sending Water/Wastewater Treatment students down to Timber Lake for work-based learning opportunities. The partnership has continued, and this is the first time that Alaska Job Corps’ Culinary Arts and Security and Protective Services students were able to travel there to gain hands-on experience.

Smith says that many more potential opportunities exist because of Alaska Job Corps’ long-time partnership with Timber Lake Job Corps, and more and more Alaska Job Corps’ students will gain practical experience there in the future.

“Hands-on experience is really the key to developing the skills students need to become excellent employees,” said Smith. “Through opportunities like these, Alaska Job Corps is providing the state, and the nation, with an experienced and qualified workforce.”

Story by Carin Meyer, Business and Community Liaison.