USMC Veteran Seeks to Inspire Students in West Palm Beach
Tyrone Jenkins was not the type of teenager that you would expect to join the military. The Belle Glade, Florida native attended a performing arts high school in West Palm Beach. He was seen on stage as an actor in numerous local community theatre productions throughout his youth.
As he was finishing high school, Tyrone sought something challenging that would help him grow as a young man. The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) seemed to be the answer. He took a gap year after graduating to heal from a knee injury and surgery, then enlisted.
“My original plan was to serve in the Marine Corps and then become a cop when I got out,” he said. “The thought of serving my country, then serving my community in law enforcement, really appealed to me.”
After boot camp, the USMC Corporal worked in logistics and distribution management. During his active duty service, Tyrone was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for two years and then finished his enlistment at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California.
After completing his service in the USMC, Tyrone pursued his goal of working in law enforcement. He completed training at a Florida corrections academy and got a full-time job working as a corrections officer at a prison. While working, he also went through training at a Florida Police Academy.
“I was really enjoying the training and learning, and ultimately decided that I wanted to earn a college degree,” he said. In 2012, Tyrone decided to join the police reserves while taking advantage of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits that he earned through his military service. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in Spanish language and culture from Florida Atlantic University in 2015, which he earned while working.
Bringing Leadership Lessons to FCC
Tyrone continued working in law enforcement after college, but when he learned about an open position at the Florida Career College (FCC) campus in West Palm Beach, he decided to apply. He was hired in 2016 to work in admissions.
“I have worked my way from the ground up over the past four years and I’ve really enjoyed being part of the team at FCC,” Tyrone said. He is now a Senior Admissions Representative.
“Tyrone is a good employee and an even better example for students. He is a person of faith, a person who has served his country, and a person who believes deeply in our mission,” said Gregg Crowe, Executive Director at FCC West Palm Beach. “He is a man of high integrity who puts the success of students first. We are very proud of him.”
“I absolutely love my work here at FCC. Being able to mentor and guide students through the process, and encourage them every step of the way, is very rewarding,” Tyrone said. “I love the diversity here. So many of our students want something more meaningful in their lives, and I love being able to be part of the path to helping them achieve that.”
Tyrone said he envisions a long career at FCC and plans to pursue a graduate degree in organizational leadership. “I want to continue to grow with FCC and hope to one day move up to a management or executive level role one day. Earning a master’s degree would be a wise investment to help me with that goal,” he said.
“Throughout my time in the Marine Corps there was a heavy focus on leadership in my training, and what it means to be a leader. We were constantly reminded about the pillars of leadership: justice, judgment, dependability, initiative, decisiveness, tact, integrity, endurance, bearing, unselfishness, courage, knowledge, loyalty and enthusiasm. I certainly identify with all of them,” Tyrone added. “All of those really align with what we focus on with our unique culture here at FCC, so there is no doubt my service in the Marine Corps has also served me well in my career here.”
“It is those lessons about leadership and life that I try to instill in our students in my work to support them,” he said.