Friday, March 2, 2012


Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center intern India Collins completes her Work-Based Learning requirement in Graphic Design at THE VOICE Newspapers under the direction of Senior Art Director Jeff Potter. India typesets and lays out the papers and works on the publications’ website. (Photo by Isaac Jones)
   India Collins is the most recent of 7 Graphic Design students from the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center to serve her Work-Based Learning internship at THE VOICE Newspapers. The native Chicagoan celebrating her 19th birthday on February 12, is President of the Chicago Job Corps Center Student Government Association and is traveling to Washington, D.C., with a delegation from the Paul Simon Center next week to meet with Congressman and Senators to encourage them to support the Job Corps program because of its successful record of preparing young people, ages 16-24, for rewarding careers.
    India lived in several states as she was growing up. She says although moving around so much was a little frustrating for her, she took it as an opportunity a lot of people don’t have to see other parts of the country and meet different people. She lived in Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, and Florida, beginning when she was 7 years old.
    At age 17, she moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, without her family. India says this was hard on her mother because she was her first daughter and she worried about India’s safety, moving so far away.
    In Florida, India spent her time singing and writing music with friends she met in Indiana. She was also on the beach and at the pool soaking up sun. India says she knew life wasn’t all fun and games, so she moved back to live with her parents in Indiana so she could enroll in college. She wanted to study Fashion Design, but the cost prevented her from attending the schools she selected.
    India worked two jobs to earn the money she needed for college. Things just weren’t coming together the way she hoped, so she reconsidered the recommendation that she apply to the Job Corps. She decided the Job Corps was an attractive option because it gave her the opportunity to earn her GED and obtain career training in Graphic Design at the Chicago Center. She was interested in the Graphic Design field, but also needed the course as a prerequisite for obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design.
    A few months later, India was on a Greyhound Bus with her sister, on their way to the Paul Simon Job Corps Center in Chicago. Her fourth week on campus, she passed her GED exam and received an $80 bonus for earning it in less than 90 days. A couple months after that, she earned all of her required certifications in graphic design – Photoshop, HTML, and Dreamweaver. Her next step is to complete her internship at THE VOICE, the final requirement for graduation.
    After completing her program, she plans to attend the School of the Art Institute to achieve her dream of becoming a fashion designer. She says the Job Corps gave her the launch she needed!

The Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center is a program of the U.S. Department of Labor providing training in nine trade disciplines & GED preparation. The Center is located at 3348 S. Kedzie Ave., in Chicago. All training courses are provided at no cost and free room & board are available on Campus. Tours are conducted every Friday morning at 10:30 AM. No appointment is required. New students are admitted to the course programs every week throughout the year. For information regarding the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center, call Beth Allen at 773/890-3131.

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