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Before joining the Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Program at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse NY, Lucas was on the verge of becoming a high school dropout. His poor school attendance and minimal credits funneled him into a homebound program, where he was forced to complete his high school courses online with limited support. Lucas struggled to juggle his self-paced school work with a precarious home life situation, where his grandparents had taken in him and his brother. His own involvement with the criminal justice system further complicated the situation. With the help of the Right Turn program, Lucas was able to focus on his education and understand the importance of getting a diploma.
When Lucas joined Right Turn, he worked with his Right Turn Case Manager to create an Individualized Career Development Plan. Because Lucas’ main goal was to graduate from high school, his case manager worked with him to review and understand his high school transcript and helped him create a plan to complete his coursework. Within a two-month period, Lucas worked diligently, completed all of the online courses required to finish high school, and passed the last Regent’s State Exam that he needed to graduate. Lucas graduated in June 2017. When he was notified that he would be graduating, Lucas called his Case Manager while still crying to share the news. He said to her, “I didn’t know who to call, so I called you. Thank you for believing in me and not giving up on me.”
Lucas has made tremendous progress in his education and personal life and now that he has his diploma, he is working with his Case Manager to explore post high-school education programs. Lucas also continues to participate in mentoring events and most recently attended a Resume and Interview Workshop where he connected with professionals working in Syracuse. Through his ICDP, Lucas identified an interest in manufacturing and enrolled in OCC’s Workforce Development Manufacturing Program to find out more about careers in in that area. As a formerly incarcerated individual, Lucas has expressed a strong desire to share his success story with his brother who is currently incarcerated in the hopes that he will also join the Right Turn Program. “I told my brother about you. I told him that as soon as he gets out, I am introducing you to him. He needs Right Turn.”
For more information about Onondaga Community College, click here.