News Column

Inland Empire Job Corps student to represent U.S. in China

May 1, 2014

Mendoza, Cynthia



The United States and Inland Empire will be well represented at the second Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Youth Skills Camp in China at the end of May by Inland Empire Job Corp student Asha Johnson, who was recently selected for the honor.

A Riverside resident, Johnson is a student at in the electrical trade program at the Inland Empire Job Corps Center in Muscoy. Upon completion of her program in May, she is giving serious thought to staying on another year and a half to two year to obtain her associates degree and perhaps pursue electronics as well. Her long-term goal is to work for an information technology (IT) department or creating her own products.

In order to be considered for the opportunity students had to interview with regional Job Corps leaders and Johnson impressed them all very much and she was selected as the representative.

"I didn't think they'd chose me," Johnson said about the opportunity to represent the United States at the APEC Camp. "I didn't think I had a chance. But once I'm there it will be a great chance to prove that I deserve it."

The APEC Youth Skills Camp was created to promote vocational skills training and generate awareness for the importance of skilled trades in economies around the world.

"Asha is an extraordinary young lady and is the epitome of what Job Corps is all about," said Claudia Lopez, Business and Community Liaison Inland Empire Job Corps Center, in an official statement from the Job Corps. "We are very honored and proud she will be representing the Inland Empire Job Corps Center."

But like many other youth who come to the Job Corps in search of new opportunities, Johnson was not without her share of struggles.

Prior to joining the Job Corps Johnson had custody of younger siblings, ages eight and 12. When she joined the program they went to live with their mother but all the same, Johnson says she wants to be able to provide for them, which was one of the big motivators in pursuing a better education.

"I want to be there for them and to be a good role model," she said.

Her time at the Job Corps has been very well invested thus far and Johnson encourages other young people to give it a try.

"It's a great opportunity to have an edge you may not have otherwise," she says. "It's an opportunity o be taken seriously. Take advantage of it."

And for those who may be facing challenges and difficulties, she also offers words of encouragement.

"Just keep trying," she says. "Even the worst day of your life is just 24 hours. You'll always have highs and lows."


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Source: El Chicano Weekly