Cherry Street Mission honors newest graduates in Workforce Development program

In a full room, family members and teachers watched with smiles on their faces as six graduates received their certification in pre-automotive technology.

“It feels good. Feels wonderful. Achievement. Worked hard. Didn’t miss any days, good attendance. You know, just stayed focused,” graduate Kiara Houston said.

The graduation comes after the eight-week program at Cherry Street Mission Ministries in collaboration with Northwest State Community College.

“To the students it’s a victory. It’s an opportunity to celebrate them and the work that they’ve put into this program,” said Tami Norris, vice president of workforce development.

During the past two months, students received hands-on experience in oil and tire changes that will help them take the next steps in their lives.

“It’s giving them skills that they can use right away in an area that they expressed interest in so that’s the celebration part that they have these new skills that make them work-ready.”

And for David Conover, as one of the teachers for the students, it made him proud to see his students come so far.

“We worked on some cars. We rebuilt a small engine to see how an engine works,” Conover said. “I very much enjoyed working with this group of students. They’re very, work well together. They’ve actually worked well as a team.”

But the day was the most sentimental for the graduates who explained that while this program prepared them to take on their new jobs, they will miss their class and the teachers that got them to this place.

“It just got me prepared for what I’m about to go set out to do,” graduate Jaquan Overbey said. “Hopefully I get hired at Tireman. That’s about it. And I’m trying to get back into school now so that’s one of my pathways going forward.”

Houston added, “It’s bittersweet that it’s over, honestly. I had fun. It was fun.”

Some of the graduates said that this certificate will only help them gain another certificate to continue bettering their futures.