Muhlenberg Job Corps Center

Muhlenberg Job Corps Student Overcomes Homelessness and Begins a Career in Health Care

September 3rd, 2020

Haley Townsend uses Job Corps to propel her to success

Before Haley Townsend enrolled at Muhlenberg Job Corps, she was homeless. Today, she’s living in Lexington, KY, working for GALE Healthcare as a contract Certified Nurse Assistant, earning anywhere from $18-$23 an hour, depending on the facility she’s working at.

“Muhlenberg Job Corps has not only improved my work life, but my entire outlook on life itself,” Townsend said.

Recalling the time prior to Job Corps, Townsend, as a homeless person, “was bouncing around from place to place, couch to couch. I had some jobs but was never able to keep one because I was constantly moving.”

When her uncle mentioned Job Corps to her, she at first was hesitant because of the stereotype image of the program as a punishment for troubled teens. “After arriving on center, I quickly realized my original perspective was completely wrong. The staff, in particular Mrs. Crystal Chandler (Career Preparation Period instructor), was key to my success at the Muhlenberg Job Corps Center.” Townsend describes Chandler as “kind and compassionate, poised, empathetic, but she was also the first one to be stern when the occasion arose. If it were not for her heart-warming, genuine interest in each individual student I would have never stuck around to complete my trade.”

Townsend completed the CNA program, earned her GED and obtained certifications for CPR, Basic Life Support and Electronic Health Records. She also was involved in extracurricular activities including serving as captain of the girls’ volleyball team, the peer counseling secretary and a recreation leader. In addition to working Townsend is continuing her education by enrolling in the EMT program at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington. She also plans to complete the Surgical Technician program there.

Job Corps gave Townsend the structure, education and job training she needed to succeed. It also gave her a network of mentors and friends. “I met some forever friends who I am still close to and met some of the most inspiring people on center.”

She recalls a sign hanging in the Muhlenberg Job Corps gym that sums up her Job Corps experience. The sign says, ‘Give us a year of your life, and we will give you a lifetime of success.’ “I now wholeheartedly believe that to be true,” Townsend said.