OTTUMWA — Jazzmin Boe was facing some challenges before she found Job Corps. She lacked a high school diploma, couldn't drive a car and had no career prospects.
"I went from one dead-end job to another," she said Tuesday to the Community Advisory Committee at the Ottumwa Job Corps Center. "I decided I wanted more from life."
Job Corps, the largest job training program in the U.S., teaches low-income young people a skill while removing obstacles from their career path. In Boe's case, they helped her get her driver's license and made a high school education available. She loved the high school classes, which she said move at the student's own pace. While she gives a lot of credit to Job Corps staff, the staff at Job Corps said Boe has a great attitude.
"This young lady graduated from our Material Handling ... program," said David Humburg, the center's communications director. "She always had a smile on her face, always had a goal before her. Her instructor said she was very focused."
Her studies gave her a great deal of confidence applying for a good-paying job.
"I never thought that at 22, I'd have a career," she said. "I'm making $13.75 an hour, almost as much as my parents."
She actually brought along her boss, Tonya Mesner, a supervisor for Casey’s General Store Warehouse Distribution Center in Ankeny. She said about 200 employees work at the warehouse. Mesner said the material handlers grab and pack about a million pieces per day in order to service 1,750 stores.
"Jaz is our first Job Corps employee," she said.
Boe only graduated three months ago but appears to have made an impression. A second Ottumwa Job Corps graduate has started at the distribution center, and two more have received job offers.
— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark.