TJCC climbs to number 2 spot - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

TJCC climbs to number 2 spot

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September 11, 2007

Albany - Turner Job Corps has moved up to number two of the largest group of Centers  in its national education rankings , behind only a center in Utah.

Albany native Stephen Belk, who now runs the center, says his ties to the community has helped the Center improve its educational ability.

The advanced cement masonry class at Turner Job Corps lays a sidewalk on their campus, with Belk making sure the students get the big picture.

"How do you apply the math with this trade?" asked Belk.

"If I want to be a contractor, when you are setting it up, I would take the length of it and the width of it, and determine my square footage," said the student.

Belk started his Job Corps career at Turner, and now is determined to make it the best in the country. And he says his ties to business and industry leaders from his hometown is helping the Center move ahead.

 "The community welcomed me back home. A lot of these people understood the trials and tribulations that I went through. They saw how they helped me, so now they are reaching out and helping our students."

Belk tightened up security and discipline at Turner first, then started stressing reading as a priority for all the students education. With 830 students between the ages of 16 to 24, Job Corps gives young people a second chance to get their high school diploma and learn a job skill, like construction.

Belk says now the Marine Base, the city of Albany, and Dougherty County Schools, and other businesses are welcoming Turner Students for work training, and that real life education has improved their student's performance, and the Center's rankings.

"We arrived in January of 2007, we were ranked dead last. Seven or eight months later we are ranked number two," Belk said.

But Belk says being ranked second is not what he wants. He is determined that Turner earn the top ranking for all Job Corps in the nation, calling on his hometown business people to help train a top notch worker in each student.

Turner Job Corps is now teaming with the Dougherty County School System to help drop outs continue their education and learn a job skill.