- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - Three staff members at the new Wind River Job Corps Center in Riverton are themselves Job Corps graduates.

They credit the program with giving them the skills and experience they can bring to their new roles.

Trent Timbana, 29, of Fort Washakie, completed a Job Corps program in Clearfield, Utah in 2006. He studied new construction and plumbing.

In July, he started working in grounds keeping and maintenance at the Wind River center.

“I’m excited because I can actually help out with my experience on the grounds crew,” Timbana said.



He credits the program with teaching him key skills for having a job.

“You’ve got to have a lot of communication skills when you’re in Job Corps,” Timbana said. “You have to understand how to live on your own; you have to be self-sufficient. You can’t depend on anyone else when you’re in Job Corps.”

Getting a job at the Wind River center was especially significant for Timbana because he put his construction and plumbing education to use in helping build the new Job Corps facility. He was part of a plumbing crew that installed the fire sprinkler system.

“I’ve seen this from when it was just dirt to finished walls,” he said.”

As a graduate he is excited for what the new facility means for local youths.

“It’s really something to know the surrounding community and kids have something more to offer them than just not doing anything,” Timbana said.

He won’t be a teacher at the Wind River center, but Timbana thinks he can help the facilities students anyway.

“All I can say is, I can tell them what I experienced and from my experience try to set an example and help them,” Timbana said.

RESIDENT ADVISERS

Lansharica Perry of Chicago and Tasha Hoffman-Wesaw of Ethete are resident advisers at the Wind River Job Corps and also graduates themselves of Job Corps programs.

Perry completed a computer technician program at the Pine Knot Job Corps Center in Pine Knot, Tennessee, and an advanced residential adviser program at the Gary Job Corps Center in San Marcos, Texas, finishing early this August.

Hoffman-Wesaw completed a program in health occupations at the Quinten Burdick Job Corps in Minot, North Dakota, in 2011.

The two women serve as residential advisers for the dormitories at the Wind River Job Corps, making sure students follow the rules for living in the dorms. The advisers also help students adjust to living at Job Corps.

“We offer experience,” Hoffman-Wesaw said.

BASIC SKILLS FIRST

For example, a student may not know how to do his or her own laundry, or make a bed, “just basic independent skills,” Perry said.

The advisers’ work is integral to the education students receive at Job Corps.

“They can train and learn their job skills safely knowing they can come home to a clean environment because we make sure it stays that way,” Perry said.

Both thought the staff in their respective Job Corps programs helped them to be successful.

“My residential advisers were like a big mentor for me in this position, because now I look back at what they had helped me with, and now I can apply it to things here with students and do my best to help them,” Hoffman-Wesaw said.

LIFE-CHANGING

Job Corps brought about a large change in Perry’s attitude that she thinks helped her to be successful.

“All people care about (in Chicago) is materialistic stuff and having fun, and I was that (way),” she said. “Going to Job Corps … they don’t care (about) your shoes or they don’t care how you look. That toned me down a lot.”

Hoffman-Wesaw hoped working for Job Corps would allow her to give back to the program.

“Being a residential adviser and being more positive with students and really encouraging the positive attitude just right there, that helps,” she said.

Perry offered advice for current students from her experience in the program.

“You have to have an open mind because if you don’t have an open mind it’s going to hinder your success,” she said. “You have to handle whatever they throw at yourselves because they’re really stripping you down to the core and rebuilding you.”

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Information from: The (Riverton, Wyo.) Ranger, https://www.dailyranger.com

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