Students are earning certifications and increasing their employability like never before thanks to long-time Office Administration Instructor, Penny Cody. Cody has led her classes to a record number of global certifications including a student earning the highest Excel score nationwide in 2012. In the past 12 months alone, students have earned 108 Internet and Computing Core Certifications (IC3) and Microsoft Office Specialist (Word, Power Point, and Excel) certifications. Students work for months to prepare and train for the challenging exams.
“On average it takes 8 to 12 months for a student to be ready, but during that time they are completing hundreds of other essential skills to be office personnel” said Cody. “I’m just so proud of them”. A Bryson City native, Cody has helped students who come from both local areas and across the southeast to Cherokee to receive industry and workforce training.
Shenika Jackson, working building an advanced Excel spreadsheet, understands the importance of global certifications in tough economic times. “Each skill I learn helps show future employers that I am trained, qualified, and ready to work at a high level,” she said.
Jackson has also volunteered over 150 hours in unpaid internships and work-based learning to build her resume. “It is great experience and I know so much more about customer service. I’m really confident now”.
Over the years, Cody has seen hundreds of graduates complete the program and go on to successful careers in customer service, general reception, and office administration. “I still keep in contact if I can. I think it’s important to celebrate the successes that have made a complete life change for my students” she said. “It’s what Job Corps is all about- changing lives”.
Office Administration is offered through Southwestern Community College at the Oconaluftee Job Corps CCC campus.
The Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is associated with the National Forests of North Carolina. It is accredited by the Council On Occupational Education and currently serves 104 students. The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages over 200 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. For more information about the Oconaluftee JCCCC, visit oconaluftee.jobcorps.gov or jobcorpsnews.org/Oconaluftee
– Holly Krake, OJCCCC