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Red Rock Job Corps Center Creates Virtual Dorm Program Using the LEGACY Values


Red Rock Job Corps Center in Lopez, PA, is finding new ways to engage students while off-campus. To help provide social development support to off-center students during the pandemic, the Red Rock Social Development Team created a virtual dorm using Google Classroom. The team participated in two weeks of intense training using Google training exercises, Equus Workforce Solutions (EWS) PowerPoints, National Job Corps Office webinars, and one-on-one training with EWS Social Development Directors Bobby Sheets and Cliff Miller.

Lead Residential Advisors (LRA) were excited to create their virtual dorm using this tool. The LRAs enhanced the classroom by adding all of their dormitories residential advisors as additional instructors for the virtual dorm. The Center crafted five virtual dormitories, a virtual recreation program, and designed several off-center groups for additional student engagement.

The students were identified by dormitory and sent Google invites to join their virtual dorms. Residential staff uploaded a variety of interesting information to their virtual dorms that allowed Red Rock staff to assist in continuous learning with students while they remained safely at home. The Residential Team used Google Meet to interact directly with students virtually. The Social Development Staff is live in their virtual dorm at least one day a week for at least an hour at a time.

To track the daily attendance of students engaged in the virtual dorm, the Social Development Department posted a light-hearted daily roll call and accountability question. Students had 24-hours to answer the question. The Center has also collected valuable information from students by sending out Google Form surveys for Center recreation and Center safety to all students. The feedback received helps ensure that Red Rock students can live their best lives.

The Recreation Supervisor, with assistance from the Counseling Team, created workouts, physical challenges, and exercise campaigns for students as a way to maintain their fitness and health while at home. The Center also created a virtual water safety program for students.

The Social Development Department also created off-center student groups through Google Meet. These groups include Boys to Men, LGBTQ, W.I.S.E (Women Inspiring Self Excellence), and others. The voluntary groups met virtually once a week.

Center Director Gerry McGroarty is very pleased with the virtual dorm model. He said, “Within the first week of the virtual dorm roll out, the Center had close to 50% of the student population sign in. Student participation has grown each day with more students logging into their virtual dorms and partaking in virtual recreational activities. A contest has commenced for the first dorm at 100% participation.”