JJC holds Job Corps commencement ceremony, honors grads
By Jan Larsen Correspondent August 11, 2013 10:02PM
From left, Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante, Honoree Val Rand and Will County Executive Larry Walsh confer before graduation Aug. 9 2013 at Joliet Job Corps | Jan Larsen~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 13, 2013 6:14AM
Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante was commencement speaker at the summer graduation for Joliet Job Corps students on Aug. 9.
Will County Executive Larry Walsh also addressed the nearly 100 graduates and their friends and family at the federally funded education and job training facility on Mills Road. Salutatorian was Jasmine Simpson of Joliet, who has earned certifications in tile setting and forklift and said, “This would have never happened without the staff.”
Valedictorian was Arian Branigan, of Tinley Park, who earned her GED and certification in Pharmacy Technician. She also said family, friends and staff had everything to do with her being on the stage. She predicted that the jobs students will earn in pharmacy tech, CNA, tile setting, cement masonry, security, tile setting and office administration are just the beginning of some wonderful careers.
Giarrante told about his own “humble beginnings.” When he was 14, his father died and he had to help lead the family because his brother was in the Navy. He gave up sports to help support his family, working several jobs and deciding against college.
Walsh encouraged the students by saying, “there are jobs out there in this world and in this country.”
Awards were given to Val Rand of Joliet for outstanding tutoring in the career transition classes and to Erin Gilmartin of Guardian Angel Services for the many programs it brings to Job Corps.
Joliet Job Corps is rated No. 4 in the nation out of 125 due to measured student outcomes. The residential facility is open to youth ages 16 to 24 from low-income families.