Gaitan receives 2021 Governor’s NC Works Award of Distinction

Carteret Community College graduate Makayla Gaitan, third from left, is the recipient of the 2021 Governor’s NC Works Award of Distinction in the category of Outstanding Young Adult. She is seen here recently standing with, from left, CCC President Dr. Tracy Mancini, Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act youth program coordinator Merianne Grigoriciuc and right, CCC Vice President Perry Harker.  (Contributed photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — Carteret Community College graduate Makayla Gaitan is the recipient of the 2021 Governor’s NC Works Award of Distinction in the category of Outstanding Young Adult.

The award recognizes young adults who have been involved in a publicly funded North Carolina workforce service or program and have demonstrated exceptional achievement to attain career-related goals. Ms. Gaitan, a 2021 graduate, participated in the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, or WIOA, youth program and is the first CCC student to receive the award.

“The WIOA program and the NCWorks staff are extremely proud of Makayla’s accomplishment,” WIOA youth program coordinator Merianne Grigoriciuc said. “She has demonstrated academic, personal and professional perseverance throughout her time in the WIOA program and has exemplified professionalism, empathy and quality customer service in each of her work experiences and internships.  Makayla’s dedication to help others and serve her community are the qualities that make her deserving of the Governor’s NCWorks Award of Distinction.”

After receiving her high school diploma through the CCC adult high school, Ms. Gaitan pursued her college degree and entered the human services technology program, during which she worked as a WIOA student worker with the college’s retention and counseling services center.

“I owe a lot to Carteret Community College and the WIOA program,” Ms. Gaitan said. “To be recognized for doing my job and pursuing my passion of helping others is such a great feeling. I know I am on the right career path and to have that recognized gives me indescribable joy.”

In May, Ms. Gaitan graduated with her associate in applied sciences degree in human services technology and is now pursing her bachelor’s degree at Lees-McRae College. She hopes to pursue her master’s and possibly her doctorate.

“I am continuing to work with and for people while preparing for a future career as a therapist,” Ms. Gaitan said. “But no matter what, as long as I am able to help others, I will be happy.”

As the 2021 Outstanding Young Adult, Ms. Gaitan will be recognized at the Thursday, Sept. 16 Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board meeting and annual banquet. 

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