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New jersey

Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Burlington County Workforce Investment Board

Meet Juan

Workforce Challenge

Juan came to the youth program at a very young age of 14. Juan was in the 9th grade at the local high school and wasn’t performing well academically. He was basic skills deficient, reading at the 4th grade level. Further, Juan had a speech impediment that caused him to stutter and prevent others from understanding him. He had attended speech therapy for many years. Juan’s living arrangement was unstable; his parents' limited income had the household moving frequently. His parents' English was limited as well.

Workforce Solution

Despite these obstacles, Juan did not get discouraged in his efforts to succeed. He demonstrated determination, motivation and an eagerness to achieve goals.

Since Juan’s true passion was in the Culinary Arts, the idea was to have him transfer to the Burlington County Institute of Technology (Medford Campus) focusing on Culinary Arts. His acceptance to the school, as a 10th grader, was Juan’s first success. With budding confidence and more self-esteem, Juan began to blossom: his future was looking brighter.

Through the Youth Opportunity Program, Juan attended a diverse amount of activities, including tutoring, workshops and summer work experience. Throughout his participation in the program Juan gained more and more confidence. With Juan’s new-found confidence and a higher self esteem, the Youth Opportunity Program encouraged Juan to participate in school activities such as drama, sports and school competitions.

Outcomes & Benefits

Juan began working at the Mt. Holly Center while attending high school. Upon graduation from Burlington County Institute of Technology (2008) Juan received the Principal’s Honor Roll award. With much encouragement and support from the Youth Opportunity Program, Juan had excelled in his skilled trade, Culinary Arts. He was excited to further his education in the Culinary Arts by attending college - a first for his family. He was accepted into the Culinary Arts program in Atlantic County Community College, where there are only ten (10) slots awarded per year. Unfortunately, since Juan assumed most of the financial responsibilities at home he was unable to accept the invitation. He was, however accepted into Burlington County College’s Culinary Arts Program. Juan is still working at the Mt. Holly Center, earning more than $10 an hour, and his employer is paying for his college tuition.

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