Job Corps Celebrates 50 Years

jane-marquardt-job-corpsOn April 21, Job Corps celebrated 50 years of educating and training disadvantaged youth with a ceremonial dinner in Washington, D.C.

Job Corps facilitates collaboration between public offices and private-sector employers to create and cultivate opportunities for young people from underprivileged, underserved communities. Through an emphasis on building job skills and credentials, Job Corps has empowered and benefited over 3 million Americans. Its most effective tools over the last five decades include comprehensive residential, academic, and career preparation programs.

In recognition of Job Corps’ enduring success over the last half-century, students, staff, employers, community stakeholders, and supporters like U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez were in attendance for the evening at the Mellon Auditorium in the nation’s capital. The National Job Corps Association’s Foundation for Youth Opportunities hosted the event.

The celebration honored ten hand-picked Job Corps Graduate Heroes from all over the country, unique in their inspiring tales of courage and determination. Local Job Corps students displayed to the attendees especially crafted building blocks which creatively illustrate how participation in the program is building a brighter future for the United States and supporting so many people in realizing their potential. The night even showcased a 1965 Mustang that had been refurbished by Job Corps students, symbolic of the program’s timelessness as a classic and irreplaceable policy.

Established in 1964 as a facet of the Economic Opportunity Act, Job Corps was a critical apparatus in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s suite of “Great Society” programs. He designed this legislation to battle the pervasiveness of poverty and inequality in the United States. It is rooted in the belief that regardless of the conditions into which a citizen is born, whether they be geographic, economic, or racial, everyone deserves a fair opportunity to work hard and prosper.

The celebration underscored the remarkable history of Job Corps and its role in transforming the social and economic landscape of the impoverished communities, as well as the lives of the young people therein. A number of corporate partners contributed to make the night possible. These included MTC (Management & Training Corporation), Fluor, Dynamic Educational Systems Inc., Education & Training Resources, MINACT Incorporated, Odle Management Group, Horizons Youth Services, Penn Foster, Exceed Corporation, American Business Corporation, Chugach, Texas Educational Foundation Inc., and  Education Management Corporation.