Friday, May 4, 2012


Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps intern Sarah Cooperider and Senior Graphic Designer Jeff Potter work on laying out editions of THE AUSTIN VOICE and THE GARFIELD-LAWNDALE VOICE. (Photo by Brad)
    Sarah Cooperider is the latest Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center student to choose to complete her work-based learning requirement at THE VOICE Newspapers. Sarah, a native of Dayton, Ohio, has been studying Graphic Design at the Chicago Job Corps Center since November of 2011. She plans to finish her studies and go out to the working world in June to apply what she has learned. At THE VOICE Sarah typesets and composes the news pages and constructs ads. During April, she has been using her imagination and design skills to create the National Poetry Month pages.
    Sarah applied to the Job Corps because she needed a job. She had been studying Graphic Design at a community college in Ohio and decided to pursue that field. The Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center is the only one in the country offering Graphic Design training. She says she was never in a city as large as Chicago, so that was exciting, too.
    “I didn’t even know what Graphic Design was until high school,” Sarah says. “I had always been interested in art and it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to write and illustrate a children’s book.”
    Sarah says, “I have also always been interested in animals, so all through elementary school I wanted to be a veterinarian (like 60% of all kids). In middle school, I started reading a lot of zoology and ecology books from the library. I came upon the book, Never Cry Wolf. I became obsessed with the idea of living with the wolves in northern Canada. My plan was to become an animal behaviorist,” she explains.
    When Sarah took a couple of advertising and design classes in high school, she decided she might have an aptitude for Graphic Design. In addition, the career exploration course she took revealed that all the courses in which she was interested were in visual communications.
    Sarah credits the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center with teaching her what she needs to know about Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and HTML in her five months as a student. “Pretty soon, I’ll have some certificates to prove it!”
    In addition, Sarah says living at the Job Corps Center has made her more independent. “I didn’t have any family or friends in Chicago when I came here. I’ve had to become less shy and more assertive to advocate for myself,” she observes. “I also feel more confident in my artistic abilities – especially since the Paul Simon Center chose my poster design to represent it in Washington, D.C.”

The Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center is one of 125 vocational career training campuses nationwide operated by the U.S. Department of Labor. It is located at 3348 South Kedzie Avenue. The Chicago Job Corps Center offers nine career training courses, including: Carpentry, Painting, Bricklaying, Certified Nursing Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Materials Handling, Computer Service Technician, Office Practice, and Graphic Design. Training is offered without cost and job placement services are provided. The Job Corps is open to men and women ages 16-24. Dormitory housing is available free to students wishing to live on campus. Meals are provided free, also. Students without high school diplomas are required to take courses leading to graduation or GEDs. These, too, are offered free on center. Free childcare services are also available on center and program graduates can attend Chicago City Colleges tuition-free. For information on applying for admission to the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center, call Beth Allen at 773/890-3131. New students are admitted weekly as space permits and free tours are conducted every Friday. No reservations are required.

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