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Hilliard takes over at Young

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He said he aims to make center among the nations best

By Cameron Koch

The Whitney M. Young Job Corps Center in Simpsonville once again has a new director, and he said he is looking to make the center among the best in the nation.

Carl Hilliard, who has worked as the executive director for numerous Job Corps centers, including the Cincinnati Job Corp Program, was welcomed Thursday morning as the new executive director by the center’s staff and community supporters.

The center has seen two directors come and go in the past two years.

Hilliard said his last job for the Job Corps was to travel to various facilities throughout the country to help increase performance. But once he began to become involved with students and faculty again, he said a familiar “itch” appeared. It was then he got a phone call about the opening at Whitney Young, an offer he said he was excited and honored to accept.

“I’m very happy to be here, and I can’t wait for six months to come and for me to give you some results,” Hilliard said in his opening speech.

Hilliard said he is planning to step up the center’s performance.

“In any center I’ve worked at, I use the phrase, ‘There is always room for opportunity,’” Hilliard said. “Most likely when they [students] get close to meeting my expectations, I’m going to raise the bar. I’m going to be challenging my students and my management team to make sure we are excelling at a very high level.”

Hilliard promised that change would be coming to the center.

“The changes I’m planning to make is to be sure we are providing the services to our students, that our external customers, meaning the department of labor, are happy, listen to the community, making sure our center is safe…to make sure and ensure students feel safe and have a learning environment that is rigorous to be sure that when they graduate they go back to their local communities with the certifications they need to be equipped for success in their local communities,” Hilliard said.

The event not only served as Hilliard’s inauguration but also the inauguration of a new set of Student Government Association Officers, sworn in by Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden, as well as a time to promote and explain what all the Job Corps is about – training students for successful careers.

Melanie Dedden, health occupations cluster manager at the center, said Whitney Young Job Corps is one of the best kept secrets in the area.

“We train our students for careers,” Dedden said. “Sometimes I think they should rename Job Corps to “career corps” because anybody can get a job before they come here, minimum wage, struggling day to day. Our goal for our students is that they reach their career goals and that they continue to educate themselves.”

Hilliard, who arrived Monday to start his new position, said he will be working hard to get to know all the faculty and staff and to make sure students have everything they need to be successful.

“It’s exciting to be here,” Hilliard said. “I look forward to taking this center to being the number one Job Corps center in the nation, and to make sure it becomes the – I say the – premier Job Corps center in the country.”