“I am very thankful for my experience at Cleveland Job Corps and for the people I met,” acknowledged Unique Byrd (19). After finishing the Medical Assistant program at the Cleveland Job Corps Center, Unique joined the service.
The Lorraine, Ohio native joined the Cleveland Job Corps Center on October 1, 2018, under the advisement of her sister Monique West, a Cleveland Job Corps alumnus. “I was a teenager living in an adult world with too many responsibilities and no direction,” explained Byrd. She obtained credentials in Clinical Medical Assistant, Serve Safe, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, and First Aide. She also earned her high school diploma from Penn Foster through a partnership they have with the center.
“Life at the Cleveland Job Corps was challenging for me. I was used to being able to do what I want when I wanted to. I didn’t have structure,” admitted Byrd. “The community living, diverse population and not being able to leave campus was so frustrating, but with the help of the staff I learned to adapt.” Byrd credits Career Counselor Talisha Cooper and former Academic Instructor Wazir Moore for giving her a reality check. They met with her regularly to discuss short and long-term career and personal goals, barriers, and how to overcome those barriers.
“Job Corps gave me a foundation. The staff helped me achieve my goals even when I didn’t want to,” recalls Byrd. “All the support and encouragement they provide to make sure you succeed and keep pushing is memorable.”
Eager to begin the next chapter in her life, Byrd left Ohio in July 2020 for basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago, IL. Following basic training graduation on October 29, 2020, she earned the rank Seaman. Byrd is taking Mass Communications Specialist classes at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) in Fort Meade, Maryland. Seaman Byrd is excited about her future in the Navy. “Joining the Navy is the best decision I have ever made,” exclaimed Seaman Byrd.