Success Stories

 Students on their way up the success ladder!

For every one of us that succeeds, it's because there's somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn't always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.
                                      ~Oprah Winfrey

Success Lasts a Lifetime
Lexus Frazier

Name: Daniel Castellon-Pineda
Age: 21
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Career Area: Carpentry
Dates in Job Corps: January 2015 - April 2016
Employer: Castellon Painting, LLC

Daniel Castellon-Pineda came to the Cleveland Job Corps Center (CJCC) on January 5, 2015, and recently completed the program on April 22, 2016. He is currently employed with Castellon’s Painting, LLC., his family-owned painting company located in Lakewood, OH.

As a teenager, Mr. Castellon-Pineda came to the United States from El Salvador to escape gang violence and to work in the family’s business. Although Mr. Castellon-Pineda was an accomplished interior and exterior painter before he enrolled in the Job Corps program, he wanted to obtain his High School diploma and add Carpentry to his list of talents.

Mr. Castellon-Pineda received his High School diploma on May 7, 2015, and his Carpentry certification on April 12, 2016. With a Carpentry certification, Mr. Castellon-Pineda could help the family business obtain a broader range of contract work. Mr. Castellon-Pineda was a model student, and had a positive influence on his peers while enrolled at CJCC. Mr. Castellon-Pineda is progressing nicely in further developing the English language, as well as, in the Carpentry trade. Mr. Castellon-Pineda aided in constructing the CJCC courtyard pergola. These are just a couple of the projects that he worked on at the United Brotherhood of Carpenter’s annual apprenticeship competition event, at the local apprenticeship training center.

In addition to bringing his superior painting skills to the table, he hopes to use the carpentry skills that he learned to help Castellon Painting, LLC., secure expanded contracts. Some of Mr. Castellon-Pineda duties will be to train new employees with painting skills and travel to worksites to do contract estimates for work. He is very thankful to his instructors for teaching him how to calculate materials and labor, in order to make estimates for customers. He visits his instructors frequently and plans to keep in touch with them in order to refine and expand upon these skills.

Success Lasts a Lifetime
Lexus Frazier 

Name: Lexus Frazier
Age: 21
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Career Area: Carpentry
Dates in Job Corps: January 2013 - September 2014
Employer: Donley's Construction

Lexus Frazier arrived at the Cleveland Job Corps Center (CJCC) on January 15, 2013 to enroll in the construction trade. Her biggest hurdle was acquiring the patience to complete her high school diploma.

Ms. Frazier is very energetic, works at a fast-pace and has a great desire to work; so the Carpentry trade suited her well. Obtaining both her High School diploma and Carpentry certification on April 21, 2014 was quite an accomplishment for Ms. Frazier. She is a natural leader and was able to expound on those skills while enrolled in CJCC. She was shop foreman in her trade, took on a dorm leader role, and voluntarily taught students boxing maneuvers after class in the recreation facility.

Ms. Frazier was recently nominated by the CJCC for a National Department of Labor Award, titled the “BOOT Award.” This award stands for Better Occupational Opportunities for Tradeswomen and is an award for females in “non-traditional” career fields, such as construction and manufacturing. Each Job Corps Center has the privilege of nominating one deserving young woman every year. CJCC Construction Cluster Training Manager, Adam Bohn visited Donley’s Construction worksite to interview Ms. Frazier and found her doing concrete formwork and building a parking garage in the heart of Cleveland.

In addition to the work Ms. Frazier is currently doing at the parking garage, she also aided in the building of the downtown Hilton Hotel. Ms. Frazier is in her second year as an apprentice and she is already leading crews of other apprentices for her company! Be sure to check out Lexus Frazier’s video.


Challenge Accepted
Jamia Woods

Job Corps and McNeely Pigott & Fox are recognizing female Job Corps students across the country who have accepted the Job Corps challenge during National Women’s History Month. The social media campaign titled, “Challenge Accepted” will feature one woman from each region to be featured on the Job Corps Facebook page and receive a certificate of recognition to include their resume and portfolio.

Jamia Woods completed the Cleveland Job Corps Center’s (CJCC) Building Construction Technology (BCT) trade with excellent attendance. Jamia often encouraged female students to consider careers in construction & maintenance.

While enrolled in BCT, Ms. Woods demonstrated leadership qualities during a community service project repainting 12,000 square feet at a Hispanic community center. While on her Career Technical Skills Training (CTST) project, she built an outdoor sand volleyball court and in the classroom Ms. Woods assisted her instructor by motivating her fellow classmates. She also raised the bar in her classroom by securing evening WBL employment with the center maintenance crew performing custodial work on Center.

After completing the BCT trade, Ms. Woods enrolled in an off-center Machining program offered by Cuyahoga Community College’s (TRI-C) Advanced Technology Academy (ATA). Ms. Woods was faced with some personal adversities while attending the ATA Machining program, but she did not allow that to deter her. Due to her resolve, Ms. Woods was presented the “Perseverance Award” by the Advanced Technology Academy during her graduation ceremony.

Although, there have been obstacles, Ms. Woods continues to travel the road to success and remains persistent in attaining her desired goals. She is currently working on obtaining her Associate of Applied Science degree in the Industrial Building Maintenance field through the CJCC Advance Career Training (ACT) program at TRI-C.

Jamia Woods was nominated as the CJCC “Challenge Accepted” campaign because she exemplifies our Core Values: Commitment, Courage, and Honor. Ms. Woods is a resilient young woman who strives to improve herself personally and professionally by utilizing the full spectrum of resources and services available to her through the Job Corps program. Throughout her enrollment at CJCC and in TRI -C, Ms. Woods has proven that she is willing to go the extra mile with her unselfish contributions, perfect attendance, and perseverance!

Success Lasts a Lifetime
Alexis Beard

Eighteen year old, Eric Grays enrolled in Job Corps because he wanted to pursue a promising career that would help him provide for his three month old son. In November of 2012, the Cleveland native began a new chapter at the Cleveland Job Corps Center (CJCC).

Initially, Mr. Grays had interest in the Facility Maintenance trade; however, the trade was full so he decided to enroll in Carpentry. With needs of providing for his son, Mr. Grays assumed he would be able to rapidly complete the program; however, he was mistaken. Although, Mr. Grays really enjoyed Carpentry and was gaining a considerable amount of knowledge from his instructors, he began to get apprehensive. His instructors were instrumental in mentoring and motivating him to consider how completing the training would assist him in providing for his child’s future. He stayed the course!

When he graduated from CJCC in September of 2013, Mr. Grays gained employment with 3D Real Estate at their Shaker Hall Apartment building location doing general apartment maintenance for two years. Currently, Mr. Grays is working for Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) that provides housing for 55,000 low income residents. Mr. Grays is working full time as a Service Person IV and will be promoted to Service Person V later this year.

A typical day of work for Mr. Grays may include handling emergency work orders such as changing pipes, snaking plumbing, changing insulation in attics, retiling floors, building decks, and more. He enjoys working for CMHA as part of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the benefits that they provide for him and his family.

Mr. Grays stated that this is his ideal job and he plans to continue working at CMHA until he retires. Mr. Grays advice to CJCC students is to just stick with it and stay motivated. He also went on to say that attending Job Corps was one of the best decisions he made.

Spotlight on Pharmacy
Alexis Beard

Name: Alexis Beard
Age: 20
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Career Area: Pharmacy Tech
Dates in Job Corps: 2015 - Present
Citizenship: AmeriCorps - NCCC

Alexis Beard came to the Cleveland Job Corps Center (CJCC) with the drive and intellect that is needed to complete a trade. Beard came to class every day ready to work and she always put her best foot forward. She was a class leader; Beard would help students with their work and run errands for her instructor. “Alexis has shown time and time again how honest, trustworthy and honor-able she is,” complemented CJCC Pharmacy Technician Instructor, Jessica M. Welch. Beard is a very hard worker and has proven to many of the staff on center that she has the ability to succeed; she sets goals for herself and achieves them.

Beard still keeps in touch with her instructor and her Pharmacy Technician classmates, whom were very happy to learn that Beard was accepted and is now an AmeriCorps Team Member.

Spotlight on Career and Personal Planning
Jaccarri Webb

Name: Jaccarri Webb
Age: 22
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Career Area: Facility Maintenance
Dates in Job Corps: 2015 - Present
Advanced Training: Advanced Plumbing (Roto-Rooter)
Edison Job Corps Center, Edison, NJ

Jaccarri Webb joined the Facility Maintenance trade in June of 2015. While in the trade Webb exemplified the Career Success Standards, and earned numerous positive commendations from staff. Webb has given shop tours and explained the Facilities Maintenance trade to various community guests and potential Job Corps applicants. Furthermore, he started as a dorm leader then became the Sargent at Arms for the Student Government Association (SGA) and the president of his dorm.

Additionally, Webb earned Career Technical Training Student of the Month and Most Improved Construction student of 2015. Webb helped to install plumbing work for an outdoor water fountain, helped dig and install drain pipe to provide irrigation and water drainage for an outdoor sand volleyball court, and showed great leadership as the project foreman in converting a dorm room suite into a beauty salon.

Intrigued with the various plumbing tasks and projects that he was assigned to and involved in, Webb soon discovered that his ultimate career interest was plumbing. During a recent visit to the center, his former high school principal was amazed to see how far Webb had developed since leaving her school and was very impressed at his personal progress.

Success Lasts a Lifetime
Virgil Whitmore

After graduating from Bedford High School in 2007, Virgil Whitmore worked a temporary position at Swagelok assembling valves. In 2008 under the advice of his mother who volunteered at the Cleveland Job Corps Center (CJCC), Whitmore joined in the Cleveland Job Corps.

As a child he enjoyed disassembling and reassembling objects, as well as working with his hands, so Whitmore decided to enroll in the Carpentry trade as a non-residential student.

Whitmore remembers fondly being taught not only the basics of the trade but also, all the tricks of the trade that would take him to the next level by CJCC Carpentry Instructors, David Lummus and Al Schmitz. In addition, Whitmore appreciated how his instructors prepared him for the construction work site by teaching him work-place etiquette and how to deal with diversity. Each of the lessons Whitmore learned while at CJCC prepared him to be better equipped to navigate the construction work environment.

Whitmore still maintains established friendships with some of his former classmates from Job Corps. Whitmore began working for RL Hill Management after graduating from CJCC, where he was able to begin the Apprenticeship Program for the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Carpenters Council (IKORCC) and became a member of Cleveland Local Carpenters 435.

He worked for several different companies during his apprenticeship in the union and graduated to Journeyman status in 2013. Currently he is working for AKA Construction Management Team (The AKA Team) owned by Ariane Kirkpatrick. “Virgil joined our team over a year ago and his leadership skills were visible early on. He also has a passion for the work he performs. That combination was what made us decide to promote him to Superintendent,” said Kirkpatrick. Today, Whitmore is running a project and leading a team of eleven employees for a $70 million remodeling and expansion of the Thistledown Racino. Whitmore is responsible for ordering the materials, scheduling, and coordinating the work site as they remodel areas and add space for additional gaming, restaurants, and a parking garage.

Whitmore really values the opportunity that The AKA Team has provided him to enhance and grow his skills and leadership. “My experience has provided me the tools to progress not only in my trade skills, but also in my leadership and organizational skills” expressed Whitmore. His next goal is to run an entire team or division for The AKA Team. “When our company was approached by the IKORCC to send an employee for Superintendent Training for an 18-month program in Las Vegas at the National Headquarters, we immediately knew that team member would be Virgil Whitmore. Investing in Virgil’s career path is invaluable in his and our growth,” said Kirkpatrick.

His former instructor thinks that he has the right qualities to achieve these goals, David Lummus, describes Virgil as having exceptional communication and visualization skills that allow him to thrive in his profession. He has the ability to envision things that others can not and is able to translate, communicate information, and knowledge in a way that everyone around him can understand in order to facilitate projects and bring teams in sync. His instructor has also observed the rapport he has been able to build with journeymen from all walks of life at the Carpenter’s Union Hall. Virgil’s advice to current students and aspiring carpenters is to “never give up, always keep the end goal in mind, and when things get tough just keep pushing.” Virgil wants to carve out a name for himself in the construction industry aside from the name that his family made famous on the east side for their amazing BBQ.

Spotlight on Health
LeeEster Seals

Name: LeeEster Seals
Age: 21
Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
Career Area: Pharmacy Technician
Dates in Job Corps: 2015 - Present
Advanced Training: Transportation Communications
Union/International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers (TCU/IAM) starts February 2016

Kalamazoo, Michigan native LeeEster Seals wasted no time obtaining her High School diploma and completing the Pharmacy Technician trade. Leaving her family of six, Seals arrived at the Cleveland Job Corps Center on June 21, 2015.

She is currently working at Walgreens as an intern to acquire her Work Based Learning (WBL) hours. Seals is scheduled to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) on February 5, 2016 to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Seals will be arriving at the Atlanta Job Corps Center in February for the TCU/IAM Advanced Training Program to begin a new chapter in her life in the airline industry. “My advice to my fellow Job Corps peers is to stay focused and stay away from unconstructiveness,” voiced Seals.

Spotlight on Health
LeAndra Cruzado

Name: LeAndra Cruzado
Age: 23
Hometown: Dayton, OH
Career Area: Medical Office Support
Dates in Job Corps: February 2016 - Present
Advanced Training: Human Service Worker - Gadsden, AL

LeAndra came to the CJCC on February 2, 2015 and chose Medical Office Support (MOS) as her trade where she quickly excelled. While still enrolled in MOS, LeAndra was employed on center through Worked Based Learning (WBL) as secretary in the Maintenance Department. After completing MOS, LeAndra applied for CJCC’s Advanced Career Training (ACT) program at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) and began college classes in the fall of 2015.

While attending Tri-C, LeAndra heard about the Advanced Training opportunities that Job Corps offered and began researching them. She found a program at the Gadsden Job Corps Center for Human Service Worker and applied. LeAndra was accepted to the Gadsden Advance Training program on January 19, 2016.

LeAndra will begin her new exciting field of training on January 29, 2016. “LeAndra has been a positive role model and great student during her time at CJCC. She has worked as my assistant for the past couple of months and she will be greatly missed. I wish her nothing but the best,” expressed CJCC Medical Office Instructor Charmayne R. Johnson, LPN.

Spotlight on Health
Jameka Bloom


Nursing Assistant Instructor, Jameka Bloom joined the Cleveland Job Corps Center family in December 2012. The native Ohioan grew up in Euclid and is the youngest of her parent’s seven children (all girls). Bloom knew early on that she either wanted to be a nurse or work in the fashion industry. So after graduating from Euclid High School, Bloom attended Bauder Fashion College in Atlanta, Georgia where she majored in Fashion Design. Although she enjoyed fashion, the business was difficult to break into and she kept feelings that she needed more and that something was missing.

Looking to medicine, Bloom became a State Tested Nurse Assistant (STNA). Bloom worked at Richmond Heights Hospital in the Cardiac Step Down Unit for 3 years, and also at Lake West Hospital in the Oncology floor caring for patients diagnosed with cancer.

After years of being strongly encouraged by nurses, patients and physicians to pursue a nursing degree, Bloom enrolled in Ambition to Succeed Technologies in 2010.  “There were moments in my life when I entertained the thought of becoming a teacher, so in the winter of 2012, when I learned of the STNA Instructing position at CJCC, I immediately felt as if I was being granted the best of both worlds,” exclaimed Bloom.

Described by many as having a bubbly personality, Bloom has no problem getting students acclimated to her classroom schedule and expectations. Bloom makes it her business to ensure that her students leave with adequate training as well as always a way to keep in contact with her. She has created a classroom Facebook page with all her students, to promote job opportunities, to be a listening ear, or if they are in need of assistance.

Ms. Bloom has been a great asset to the Health trade and her passion for nursing is something that she tries to instill in every student that comes into her trade. “Bloom takes pride in ensuring the students that come into the CNA class have a passion for working with people,” complimented Health Cluster Manager Kylene Jennings. Italian is her favorite cuisine and she considers herself to be a pretty good cook. She still dabbles in fashion, mainly in regards to interior decorating, but also as a stylist and is the mother of a gorgeous thirteen year old son. This former Euclid High School drill team captain and Flag Corps member has accomplished all of her childhood dreams. Her latest ambition is to someday own and operate a group home for Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD) residents.

Spotlight on Academics
Pierre Kinloch 


When students are told that they will be enrolled in the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) classes, they may feel at bit uneasy; this is particularly true for the Math TABE class. The Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) is a diagnostic test used to effectively assess the skill levels, aptitude and knowledge of adult learners. The test is comprised of basics of reading, English and math.

Pierre Kinloch wasted no time expressing his discontent. He frequently displayed and expressed that he didn’t want anything to do with Math. However, Pierre began noticing that several of his friends were TABE-ing out of math, this epiphany caused Pierre to make it his mission to TABE out of math too.

Pierre began putting forth the effort in the classroom, in addition to staying after school for tutoring. After a few months of studying, applying himself and testing a few more times, Pierre came back from Thanksgiving break and said “I’m getting out of your class, today” to CJCC Math Instructor, Wazirah Moore. She replied, “I hope so.” Then she filled out the necessary paper work, gave him a hug and said “I love you” and sent him to the testing room.

Anxiously, Moore began stalking the computer after an hour and 15 minutes had passed. There it was, the moment they had been waiting for… Pierre had TABE-ed out. Pierre returned to Moore’s room and before he could say anything Moore quickly hugged him and acknowledged, “Congrats, I already know.” Pierre smiled and replied, “Thank you”.

Pierre was enrolled in math TABE classes for approximately three months, on December 1, 2015 he achieved the highest grade level of 12.9 and had an overall TABE gain of 5.8. Now, Peirre can be seen walking around campus smiling and telling his friends when asked, “Yeah I TABE-ed out of math and you can too!”

Spotlight on Construction
Patrick Shaw


Name: Patrick Shaw
Age: 21
Hometown: Canton, OH
Career Area: Bricklaying
Dates in Job Corps: 2014 - Present
Employer: Cleveland Marble
Position: Bricklayer Apprentice  


Patrick Shaw came to the Cleveland Job Corps Center (CJCC) in June of 2014. He graduated from Jackson High School in 2013. After graduation, Shaw worked part-time at a pizza shop until he came to the realization that this would not provide him the career growth he was looking for. He wanted to be able to support himself in a career that would provide growth, and earn a wage that would provide him a comfortable lifestyle. One of Shaw’s goals is to one day own a home. With his mother working full time, Shaw wasn’t able to practice driving as much as he wanted and was unable to obtain his license. Shaw felt that he would need a driver’s license to secure a good job.

Shaw heard from a friend, that Job Corps is a great place to acquire the things he was looking for. With a passion for building and engineering, Shaw knew instantly that the construction training program was the one for him. After exploring each of the construction trades, Shaw settled on the bricklaying class as he saw it as a form of “old art” and was interested in putting his creativity to work while gaining knowledge. While in training, Shaw really enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow peers and instructor, “I came to see them as family” said Shaw.

After Shaw finished the bricklaying trade, he enroll in a Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) Welding course through Job Corps. Patrick had some exposure to welding in high school and felt that a welding certification would increase his chances of obtaining gainful employment. Patrick is very proud of the numerous certifications he has earned on center, not to mention receiving his driver’s license. This busy and very driven young man, gained employment with Cleveland Marble on January 25, 2016 cutting brick pavers for a paver project in Cleveland’s Public Square. While working, Patrick plan to taking night classes at Tri-C to obtain a welding certification. After Job Corps, Patrick plans to continue to work and pursue a business management degree, in the hopes of owning a company one day.

Patrick always lives by the adage that, “No matter how many times you fall down, as long as you pick yourself back up again, you will always end up a winner in the end.” He hopes that this message will help others attain the strength that he learned, so that they can make their dreams come true as well. Patrick is in high demand with several employers reaching out to him.

Spotlight on Allied Health
Phylicia Rustin

Unemployed and down on her luck, Cleveland native, Phylicia Rustin knew it was time to make a change. Rustin recalls being up late one night in June, watching television and seeing a com-mercial advertising the Cleveland Job Corps Center (CJCC). The next morning determined to better herself she decided to call and find out more about the program. The following month on July 15, 2014, Rustin was given the opportunity to make a change in her life when she began training at CJCC.

With Rustin’s mother having a background in the healthcare field she decided to enroll in the nurse assistant trade. She worked diligently on her academics and attained her State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA) Licensure. Rustin’s hard work allowed her to obtain a diploma from Penn Foster and completed her 75 hours of clinical training. “Phylicia is definitely in her element and en-joying her days of providing hands on patient care,” said CJCC Nurse Aide Instructor, Jameka Bloom. After receiving her certification, Rustin immediately began working on the completion of her FASFA and enrolled in Cuyahoga Community College for the fall semester.

CJCC Career Technical Training Manager, Kylene Jennings came across a Nurse Aide position at Oghosa Home Care, and encouraged by Bloom, to apply for the position. Rustin interviewed for the position on November 10, 2015, and was subsequently hired by Oghosa Home Care and started her new job on November 13, 2015. Rustin stated that she could not believe how quickly “real life” was happening for her.

Spotlight on Academics
Andrianna Parish

Getting students excited about academic classes such as TABE Reading and TABE Math can be a challenge when students arrive on the Cleveland Job Corps Center (CJCC). Students are eager to enter their trade, earn their high school diploma, earn their driver’s license, but slow to accept the opportunity to improve their math and reading skills.

Andrianna Parish is a student who when she first arrived at CJCC could not wait to leave. She was ready to walk away from the opportunities Job Corps was offering. Andrianna walked through the halls with a scowl on her face and wouldn’t hesitate to tell you what she thought about Job Corps and math and reading classes.
However, in the few months Parish has been at CJCC, she has made a tremendous turn around. She is now a young lady excited to TABE test; always expecting the most from herself. She is disappointed with a little gain because she believes she could achieve higher. “I realized it is my life and nobody else can do it for me, I have to want it and do it myself,” said Parish.

As Parish’s attitude toward Job Corps changed, her attitude and outlook on life changed as well. She eagerly comes into class and is ready to accept any challenge thrown her way. “I am simply trying to understand more and take my time with academics,” said Parish. “My goal is to TABE up to fully understand math.” Through her positive attitude and engagement in learning activities, she has earned a 4.9 grade level gain in Reading and 1.1 grade level gain in math. She has even become a champion of the Job Corps pro-gram and mentors new students about staying in the program and giving CJCC the op-portunity to change their life.