Las Vegas student pursues career success with nonprofit
Joey McNicol was in a bind: he was three classes behind the minimum he needed to graduate on time.
It was intimidating.
But determined to return the acorn in the spring of 2022, the high school student at Chaparral High School in east Las Vegas set himself a goal: he would finish his geometry, English and options credits as quickly as possible. It took McNicol about two weeks.
McNicol enlisted friends, tutors, and help from Jobs 4 Nevada Graduates, a non-profit organization focused on teaching employability skills to students in the Clark County School District. In a class led by specialist Chanel Davison, she encouraged McNicol to withdraw the credits and leave a clear path to graduation.
“I was a little scared because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it on time,” McNicol said. “But she motivated me to step out of my comfort zone. I was surprised, in fact, to be done so early but I was so motivated.
Davison works with up to 65 students in high school and one year after graduation through an elective course in work-related skills. As part of the classroom, specialists mentor students to ensure they graduate and are ready to go through life after graduation. Davison’s class includes time during the week for other school work.
“We make sure they are ready for the world,” she said. “We teach them all the skills they need to be successful in the real world outside of high school. “
Earning credits from McNicol was a perfect example of helping a student succeed after graduation, she said. Its specialty course is offered in the classroom during the school day and teaches students how to search for a job, write resumes and cover letters, and all other things involved in building a career.
Specialists also support student careers by paying work certificate fees, providing interview clothing, and other types of support.
But, Davison said, all of the help couldn’t be anything without graduation.
An aspiring chef, McNicol said his motivation came from finishing his studies with his friends and preparing for post-secondary courses in the culinary arts.
“I had to stay awake, I had longer nights,” he said. “Sometimes I would stay up all night doing my job. I just wanted to end it.
This story was produced in partnership with United Way of Southern Nevada as part of the Everyone Deserves Hope effort to help local families this holiday season. To contribute, visit uwsn.org/espoir.