Charleston Job Corps Center

Charleston Job Corps Alumni Journey

January 7th, 2021

Yvonne Epps-Giddings, a 1969, proud graduate of the Charleston Job Corps Center, has excelled in life after graduating with her clerical trade. Ms. Giddings is currently employed at the Northern Navajo Medical Center as the Supervisor of Clinicals, Accountability and Metrics in Shiprock, New Mexico. Another exciting fact about Yvonne is currently pursuing a doctorate degree.
Yvonne considered the clerical industry, something of no interest, however, it provided opportunities for growth and led to numerous opportunity. Ms. Giddings graduated from high school in 1967 at 17 years old. Her father, encouraged her to become educated and self-sufficient. However, the road to education had never been traveled in her family. Having doubts about her future she heard of the vocational program named Charleston Job Corps. , a friend encouraged her to attend Richmond, VA for the an outreach and admission orientation. Ms. Giddings realized this was an opportunity to attend school at no cost, that also provided residential living. Ms. Giddings began her journey by enrolling into the Job Corps program which landed her in Charleston, WV.
After completing her pathway with the Charleston Job Corps Center, Ms. Giddings was able to further her education through the Advanced Training Program at West Virginia State College, a public historically black institution for two semesters. One of the physicians on staff, encouraged her to become a nurse, due to her indicating, it was something of interest. So, as her saying goes, “You are always in the right place when you are in the right place; good or bad, another opportunity presented itself.” Her test scores for college provided the opportunity to attend Morris Harvey College at the time she was a minority at the college. It was the civil rights era, and was believed Morris Harvey needed diversity in their school. Proud of being one of 5 selected to attend and the only one to complete her degree. Ms. Giddings reflects on her upbringing, she stated “ I was raised if you start something, you have to complete it no matter what.“ She remembers the challenges of being 19 years old, in a strange city with no life experience. However, her father’s words, “education to become self-sufficient kept her focused.”
Charleston Job Corps provided her with opportunities to learn and grow. She stated, “ I attribute my success to God and good training. Giddings is humbled by the education received as a result of joining the Charleston Job Corps Program. As mentioned after graduation from Charleston Job Corps, she obtained her bachelor’s degree as a Registered Nursing from Morris Harvey College as a single mother. Upon completion of her degree, Yvonne returned to the Charleston Job Corps as an employee.
The staff at Charleston Job Corps provided her with tremendous assistance and guidance. During the interview, her emotional expression stating, “I can say at least three people cared about me and wanted me to be successful.” Meryle Chambers is still currently my mentor. Ms. Norman is full of wisdom and intelligence, she advised and taught us to look good, speak well and present ourselves as queens. Sylvia Dickerson was the disciplinarian, she kept us in line and made you want to do what is right. Giddings said, “I believe students away from home for the first time need the support and discipline of staff.”
During this time, schools where just being integrated, so there were many new experiences. Giddings said, “ Job Corps taught me to see people through a different lens. As she reflects on her days of Job Corps, she remembers her roommates, White and Hispanic, becoming family.
I was honored to facilitate an interview with Ms. Yvonne Giddings as she took us on her amazing journey as a Job Corps student and beyond. So how does a country girl from Prince George County, VA get to Mexico? Charleston Job Corps Works!

Alumni Graduate of the Quarter