Thaddaeus Vasquez was pursuing a career in IT when he quickly realized that he did not enjoy sitting at a desk all day. After a conversation with a professor, he instead was inspired to take an emergency management training program with Job Corps.
Job Corps is a nationwide career technical training and education program. The program emphasizes hands-on career training in construction, business, IT, health care and, since December 2020, emergency management.
While Vasquez had never heard of FEMA and didn’t know much about emergency management, he was excited about helping others.
Through his experience with Job Corps, Vasquez learned about FEMA, its mission and how it operates. Additionally, Job Corps provided him with the resources he needed to successfully apply for a FEMA position.
“If it hadn’t been for Job Corps, I wouldn’t have found out about FEMA,” said Vasquez. He noted that the program not only made a career with FEMA possible, it also significantly prepared him for his current position in the Public Assistance cadre as a Reservist.
As a Job Corps member, Vasquez lived and worked with people from all over the U.S. He gained valuable public speaking, leadership and communication skills. Ultimately, through his emergency management training at Job Corps, he learned some of the key skills necessary to succeed at FEMA: to be adaptable, flexible and prepared for anything.
Almost immediately after graduating from Job Corps, Vasquez was hired as a Reservist and deployed to Alabama to support a COVID-19 vaccination site.
“I was up early, drinking coffee, guiding cars all day,” he said. After the vaccination site closed, Vasquez was deployed virtually as a site inspector. He notes that in this role every day is different and is dependent on active disasters. If a site has multiple damaged components, for example, each component must be reviewed, and the process can take multiple days. Vasquez completes roughly two or three virtual site inspections each week.
He said his experience with Job Corps and FEMA are positive experiences that he is happy to share with others. Job Corps, Vasquez adds, brings greater perspectives and attention to working for FEMA; most of his fellow classmates in different concentrations at Job Corps had never heard of FEMA before enrolling.
As a reservist, Vasquez can support communities after a disaster and help survivors during the recovery process.
Job Corps is a force multiplier for the FEMA workforce: the program adds more boots on the ground to help accomplish FEMA’s mission of helping people before, during and after disasters.
With more than 120 Job Corps campuses across the United States, Job Corps graduates in emergency management training, like Vasquez, help create a diverse workforce with new perspectives and fresh ideas.
For more information on Job Corps, and its Emergency Management curriculum, visit the Job Corps page.