Turner Job Corps Center opens doors to legislators

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Numerous elected officials and area leaders were invited Wednesday afternoon to take a closer look at the Turner Job Corps Center in Albany during the center's Legislative Affairs Day.

Elected officials such as Congressman Sanford Bishop, D-Albany; State Rep. Carol Fullerton, D-Albany; Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, D- Albany; Albany Mayor Willie Adams and City Commissioner Jon Howard were in attendance of the day's activities which included a bus tour of the Turner Job Corps Center's campus.

Calandra Jefferson, business and community liaison for Turner Job Corps, said the goal of the day was to show legislators the importance of Turner Job Corps and its mission.

"Our legislators decide the amount of funding we get," said Jefferson. "Today is about getting the legislators on the the grounds and meeting face-to-face with our kids to see the progress of everyone's hard work."

Rose Walker Cook, center director for Turner Job Corps, spoke to those gathered at Wednesday's luncheon about the importance of continued support for the center and the impact that Turner Job Corps has on the community.

"People often say, 'children are our future', well they are our present too," Cook said. "When students exit out of high school, we find that they still have needs. Many high school graduates are reading at a sixth-grade reading level."

Cook said the program at Turner Job Corps is able to help those students achieve their GED, learn a trade, find employment or seek higher education after a year in the program.

Sims, who received recognition at the luncheon for her commitment to Turner Job Corps, said the center is essential in helping students who could not succeed in traditional high schools become productive and educated citizens within the community.

Bishop said after touring the campus that it "heartening to see the effects of the stimulus funds and taxpayers funds put to good use".

The congressman said Turner Job Corps serves as a safety net for those individuals who might slip through the cracks of regular school systems.

Closing out the day's events was a presentation by Strive 2 Thrive coordinator Harriet Hollis who spoke about the success of the fledging process with a goal of eradicating poverty in the community.

Strive 2 Thrive works closely with Turner Job Corps to provide opportunities to area families who are grappling with poverty.

"We currently have a 90 percent completion rate for our families," Hollis told the crowd. "The process does work and we are currently collecting the data to prove it."

Since 1978, Turner Job Corps has been assisting students between the ages of 16 and 24 with the opportunity to learn career skills, earn their high school diploma or GED, and gain the confidence necessary to begin a successful career.