Film director Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success in life is just showing up.” That axiom proved true for KCC graduate Ronnel Tyson, who turned his excellent attendance record and work ethic into a well-paying job in the fiber-optics industry.
Tyson moved to Anchorage from New York about three years ago. He tried KCC’s Computer Electronics Technology class, but within a week realized that field wasn't for him. So he moved down the hall to Construction Electricity and found his niche. He took two semesters of the class. “It was the best part of school. I loved it,” Tyson said.
By the time Tyson graduated in 2012 he earned every certification he could at KCC: OSHA training, North Slope training, HILTA, SIM, Fork Lift training and NCCER training. Tyson also connected with the team in the Youth Hiring Center with the Alaska Department of Labor, located behind KCC. YHC trained him in job interview skills and helped him polish his resumé. Then he patiently earned work experience at the Home Depot electrical department. All the while he kept his eyes open for a better position.
Mai Chang Vue was in her third day of training at the Alaska Native Medical center when her mentor, Bonnie Bausch called. “Come quick!” Bonnie said.|
Mai dropped what she was doing and followed her mentor to the Trauma Room. A patient in the ER had gone into cardiac arrest. Mai was directed to stand on a stool behind one of the technicians administering CPR. Then the technician stepped aside and motioned to Mai to take a turn administering CPR.
Mai was ready. She worked with a team of six technicians in two-minute rotations. After about 30 minutes the patient was revived.
The experience galvanized Mai desire to become a nurse. “It was the first time [I’ve helped save someone], and it’s the best opportunity I’ve ever gotten,” Mai said.
King Career Center’s On-the-job training (OJT) program puts students into real-world employment situations. Some, like Mai, are given a chance to help save a life.
Bausch is Mai’s OJT Mentor at Alaska Native Medical Center. She asks incoming students if they are Basic Life Support certified. “I asked Mai if she would be willing to perform CPR if needed,” Bausch said. “I usually ask ahead of time so I know the comfort level of the student. Part of being a great healthcare provider is being ready when you are needed. When we had a patient needing CPR Mai was willing to rotate with our staff, and she did a great job.”
|Thanks to a donation of 50 tickets from the Alaska Railroad, dozens of Anchorage teenagers visited hidden parts of Alaska not accessible from the road system. A 3-hour train trip ended with a mile-long hike to Spencer glacier, where students fished for chunks of glacier floating like ice cubes in the melt water lake.
The Chugach Children’s Forest organized the trip--a partnership between the US Forest Service, Alaska Geographic and the KCC Natural Resources Management (NRM) class. Their goal is to introduce middle and high school students to some of Alaska’s wildest places.
While exploring the Spencer Glacier area, Alaska Geographic youth leaders explained how glaciers form: Layers of snow press into mile-thick ice that becomes heavy enough to flow like toothpaste down mountain valleys. The students also learned how increased atmospheric carbon is affecting the rate of flow, and how Spencer Glacier itself has receded over the past few decades.
Over the past few years, students from KCC’s Natural Resource Management program have participated in many Children’s Forest adventures, ranging from one-day ice climbing and snowshoeing trips to 10-day kayak and horseback trips. Many NRM students have gone on to internships and jobs working in the outdoors. Guided by staff from both the Forest Service and Alaska Geographic, who act as mentors, the students explore careers working with national parks, wildlife refuges, outdoor recreation, and resource management.