Excel as a High-Performing Agency

Oconaluftee Job Corps aims to change lives during Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day

Woman in scrubs loads a young boy into a patient transfer sling as a demonstration
Matt Woodard helps Health Occupations student Aaliyah Richardson demonstrate how a sling lift assistive device is used to transfer patients in hospitals and nursing homes and people receiving home health between a bed and a chair at the April 25, Oconaluftee Job Corps Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. USDA Forest Service photo by Dean Smith.

NORTH CAROLINA – Is there any child who does not wonder where their parents disappear to when they leave for work each day?  On April 25, 2019, 10 children arrived at Oconaluftee Job Corps Center’s Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day to get an intimate view of what their parents do, on a day-to-day basis, that transforms the lives of underserved youth.

These children learned not only about the careers they can aspire to but also about careers that have an immediate and direct impact on improving lives—one student at a time—and as a direct result, also improving their communities.

Enthusiasm for the day was high and 50 students, from across every career technical training area, were eager and proud to demonstrate their trades and help parents make the day a success. The objectives of the day included demonstrating the knowledge and skills needed to meet the responsibilities of specific jobs and allow the kids to experience how daily work schedules are completed.

Open communication and respect are key to a successful work environment so the Education Department kicked off the day with a team building session to foster the kids’ soft skills. Then the young workers were off to departments across the center to explore different vocations.

All kids love fire trucks and over in the Forestry Department staff and students demonstrated the inner workings of the center’s Bureau of Indian Affairs fire truck used in wildland firefighting training

“Zaida loved it!  She stills talks about the fire truck & playing with the fire hose,” said center cook Jessica Roughton. “She keeps asking if Mommy gets to play with the fire hose at work every day.”

Woman at table building a birdhouse with a young girl
Oconaluftee cook Jessica Roughton assists her daughter Zaida with painting a birdhouse at the April 25, Oconaluftee Job Corps Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. USDA Forest Service photo by Dean Smith.

In the Facility Maintenance Department, Oconaluftee students helped the children construct customized birdhouses.

In Health Occupations, young visitors were wowed by the mysteries of the human ear and experienced having their blood pressures taken and being transported in a mechanical lift.

More technically inclined kids participated in an interactive demonstration of wiring lights and light switches in the electrical department. Topping off the day, the Recreation Department split the kids up into teams for a hard fought volleyball game.

“Bring Your Child to Work Day was a huge success,” said support clerk Roberta Gloyne. “My nephew had never played volleyball before and loved being on a team. Thanks to everyone who had a part in making this a success.”

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was a unique opportunity to provide children of Oconaluftee staff insight into the contributions of a USDA Forest Service program. The kids saw first-hand about the amazing work Oconaluftee staff perform 24-7, 365 days of the year, to train, educate and harness the enormous potential of young people, while also nurturing the next generation of conservation stewards.

Who knows, maybe one of Oconaluftee’s young visitors may seek out a career with one of the 25 Forest Service Job Corps Centers across the nation to assist with their mission of strengthening rural and urban economies by providing youth with the education, skills and work experience to obtain and keep a living wage job.

Two rows of kids, sitting at tables, boulding birdhouses
Oconaluftee Job Corps Center Director Jim Copeland survey’s the construction craftsmanship of a group of potential ornithologists at the April 25, Oconaluftee Job Corps Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. USDA Forest Service photo by Dean Smith.
Group firefirghters demonstrate equipment for gathered kids
Oconaluftee Forestry Department staff and students demonstrate the inner workings of a Bureau of Indian Affairs fire truck used in wildland firefighting training at the April 25, Oconaluftee Job Corps Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. USDA Forest Service photo by Dean Smith.