Blue Ridge Job Corps - {subtitle}


Gary Tickles is celebrating a big win at Blue Ridge Job Corps in Virginia. His center was just named number one in the nation among 122 Job Corps offices. Blue Ridge Job Corps is one of 18 centers operated by ResCare, the nation’s largest provider of services to people with disabilities and the second-largest Job Corps contractor. “The goal of Job Corps,” said Chris Scaffidi, The Pacific Institute’s representative overseeing Job Corps projects, “is to help at-risk youth to become self-sufficient and employable. What we offered were tools to help address thought patterns that impact self sufficiency and provide a constructive culture among the staff. The leadership at Blue Ridge Job Corps is very strong, which is why they were able to take the information and apply it in such a way so that all can benefit.”


“The big difference,” according to Tickles, is that the training “established a very goal-oriented culture among the staff and students.” He said that working together with staff as a team produced a rejuvenation of attitudes, and all the exercises led toward a goal to be top-rated. Training coordinator Erin Stanley remarked, “When we heard we were number one, that was our affirmation,” (goal established in the training) “and we were excited.” According to Scaffidi, “It’s one thing for leadership to set a goal. But when you have an entire staff and student population focused on the same goal, this collective mindset and subsequent effort dramatically improves an organization’s chances for success.”


All staff members at Blue Ridge were trained in the The Pacific Institute program so that they could model the concepts to students. All students receive training in the first 60 days. It is self-paced, so no one falls behind. Classes are an hour-and-a-half long. “We used to use the standards set of skills set up by the Jobs Program,” Stanley said. “The Pacific Institute made it more cohesive. I think we see success every day in our students having more confidence. Our whole business is to train people in jobs and careers in fields they never thought they would work in.” Using The Pacific Institute’s cognitive based goal-setting process, Stanley said students learn to keep telling themselves, “I am a medical professional,” and “they don’t see themselves going back and working at McDonald’s. We train them to get jobs and make gains.”


According to Scaffidi, “We have worked with a lot of organizations, and almost everyone sees value in the concepts that are taught. However, it is the application, not the concepts, which determine the results.” Gary Tickles, Erin Stanley, and the remainder of the leadership team (Donna Perkins, Anita Witherspoon, Sharon Cahill and Carol Parsons) focused on application. They worked very closely with their The Pacific Institute implementation coach, Jim Duffield, to ensure the concepts were being utilized, both inside and outside of the training environment. To maintain their own interest in the The Pacific Institute program, Blue Ridge staffers seek additional training and teach a new group of students every 60 days. “Their enthusiasm rubs off on us,” Stanley said. According to Ms. Stanley, “The biggest thing is that it is so much more positive. I enjoyed working here, but we did not have the focus. I can give you all the certification you want, but if you do not believe in yourself, you are not going to make it. You have to have confidence in yourself as a professional… We always had a positive culture, but the The Pacific Institute training helped take us to the next level.”