Job Corps - American EducationOne of two work-experience programs established for low-income adolescents and post-adolescents by the Economic Opportunity Act, or WAR ON POVERTY, in 1965. Designed for young men and women between the ages of 16 and 24, the Job Corps is a $1.5- billion-a-year residential program in which more than 60,000 members live away from home at more than 100 urban and rural government centers. Restricted to high-school dropouts and unskilled students from economically depressed areas, the program offers students free lodging, clothing, meals and health care, along with basic academic and vocational training, counseling, a stipend of $5,000 to $6,000 and job placement assistance over eight months. Operated by the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, the Job Corps provides about 1,000 hours of academic and job training to each student, alternating a week of academic instruction with each week of vocational training. The average student enters the program with only sixth-grade academic skills. To graduate, students must earn a General Educational Development certificate—the equivalent of a high school diploma—and demonstrate proficiency in one of a wide range of rural or industrial areas of skill, such as welding, retail sales, data entry, conservation work or the culinary arts. Although graduates earn an average of 20% higher in the job market than nonparticipants, the graduation rate is low, averaging well under 50%.
(See also NATIONAL YOUTH CORPS.)