On June 8, Jamaica Hampton had the kind of day many teenagers dream about coming true. Not only did he receive his coveted construction trade school diploma and confirmation of a new job, he also received a car to travel back and forth to work!
"It's crazy. Stuff like that doesn't happen all the time. It's a blessing and a testament that working hard pays off. I guess they saw something in me," Hampton said.
Hampton attended Morgan Jr./Sr. High School, a community school program operated by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE), where he earned his California High School Equivalency Certificate. While going to school, he also attended Northern California Construction Training (NCCT), a non-profit, community-based organization that offers pre-apprenticeship programs to help students transition to careers in construction.
Upon graduating from NCCT, Hampton knew he had a job waiting for him with Laborers Local #185 in Sacramento. What he did not know was that he impressed his NCCT instructors so much they helped raise money to buy him a used car. Hampton not only received his trade school diploma, but also the keys to a 1995 Ford Taurus.
"We pinched pennies throughout the year and we get a lot of private donations to use for occasions just like this. Our Board is very supportive."—Jake Meehan, NCCT
"We pinched pennies throughout the year and we get a lot of private donations to use for occasions just like this. Our Board is very supportive," said NCCT Vice-President Jake Meehan. "We gave Jamaica a chance and now he's flourishing."
"It shows that hard work pays off," Hampton said. "Nothing is handed to you, especially to a kid like me. You have to make your own opportunities."
This year, 109 students graduated from NCCT's South Sacramento and West Sacramento programs. Nearly 93% of the South Sacramento students and 75% of the West Sacramento students are now either employed or placed in a union apprenticeship program.
"NCCT is doing a really good job of partnering. They're partnering with the labor unions for jobs, and they're partnering with SCOE for educational services. Folks are getting an education. They're getting hands-on training and they're moving on to jobs. So, that's a pretty good trifecta," said Matt Perry, SCOE Assistant Superintendent for Court, Community Schools and Career Technical Education.
Morgan Jr./Sr. High School offers students a unique opportunity to improve academic skills, obtain mental health services, and develop a comprehensive Student Success Plan. That plan involves academic, vocational/career, and social development goals. SCOE partners with the Sacramento County Probation Department and Sacramento County Mental Health Department to provide students an excellent opportunity to reunify with their families and communities with the hope of successfully transitioning back to their school of residence and graduating from high school.