Excel as a High-Performing Agency

Mingo Job Corps Student steps out of comfort zone, pursues unique opportunity

Woman with bucket and net, standing in a river
Jalysia “JJ” Jones, Mingo Job Corps Student, fishing for cutthroat trout in the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland in Fort Collins, Colorado on August 26,2019. USDA Forest Service photo by Christopher Carroll.

COLORADO – Jalysia Jones stepped out of her comfort zone, to complete a Public Land Corps internship with the USDA Forest Service. While training to be a painter at Mingo Job Corps in Missouri, she was offered an opportunity to try something unique...working as a fisheries technician with the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland in Fort Collins, Colorado.  

Jones started at Mingo Job Corps at the age of 17, were she was introduced to the Forest Service and its mission. She hadn't known she could spend the summer living and working for the Forest Service, wading through high mountain streams, counting and measuring populations of native cutthroat trout. Enrolling at a Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, connected her to millions of acres of natural areas and a diverse array of work opportunities.

"I needed to get out of my comfort zone,” says Jones. “I wasn't sure I could do this, but I've learned that hard work and determination make a difference in the long run.”

"Job Corps students don't come with any specific fisheries training, but I'm able to train them once they arrive and help them orient to Colorado and field work in general,” said Chris Carroll, fisheries specialist on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, who worked alongside Jones during the summer.

“It can be a big challenge adapting to a new environment and doing work completely unfamiliar, but the lessons about life that are learned are really valuable to the students. It's okay if they don't have previous experience, as long as they are interested in spending long days in the field and have the aptitude to try and work hard. This has been a valuable partnership for me and my forest. I hope to continue this partnership into the future," stated Carroll.  

“Through this experience, I learned I can focus and do new things, even stick it out during the hard times” says Jones. On September 13th, 2019, Jones completed her PLC internship and earned a non-competitive hiring certificate for permanent Federal jobs. Her short-term plan is to return to Missouri and look for a painting job, with the knowledge that she can apply for seasonal to permanent entry level positions within the Forest Service.

Click ahead for more information about PLC internships.

Woman holding cutthroat trout
Jalysia “JJ” Jones, Mingo Job Corps Student, shows off a Colorado cutthroat trout that was found on the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland in Fort Collins, Colorado, on August 28,2019. USDA Forest Service photo by Cyndi Szymanski.