The Role of Job Corps: Providing Education & Career Training

Administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, Job Corps is a federally funded job training and educational program, and serves as an alternative for youth who are unable to learn in a traditional academic environment.  Job Corps runs 125 centers serving roughly 60,000 young people across the country each year who are between the ages of 16 and 24 and meet certain criteria. Job Corps functions as a full-service school which educates and trains individuals to embark on educational and professional pursuits, such as:

  • Earn a high school diploma
  • Get a GED
  • Learn a trade
  • Continue with post-secondary education
  • Enter the workforce

Job Corps symbolizes opportunity for young people who meet low income criteria and serves as an alternative for youth who are unable to learn in a traditional academic environment. Having served this population of students for 50 years, one of the core services they provide is helping students complete high school. Penn Foster is honored to partner with the Job Corps and provide an online high school diploma option to the majority of their centers.

How Penn Foster Supports Job Corps

Penn Foster's goals are in alignment with the Job Corps mission. Youth with a high school diploma or high school equivalency can enter Job Corps to get trade training for workforce credentials. Many teenagers and young adults, however, have neither. Since 2008, Penn Foster has been helping Job Corps provide that educational milestone by offering an accredited diploma completion program. Penn Foster specializes in different academic pathways to meet the secondary needs of completion. Once students earn their high school diploma and complete high school, they not only gain the credential, but they build the confidence and motivation to advance their education and career training.

The Penn Foster program has been integrated into over 70 Job Corps centers, and more than 10,000 students are projected to enter the Job Corps program via the Penn Foster high school completion program in 2014. Penn Foster's goal is to give students the opportunity to be successful where traditional systems left off.

Together, Penn Foster and Job Corps help position these individuals to achieve more-to go to college, enroll in the military or become gainfully employed. The partnership helps young people believe in themselves and their future, and provides students with the education and the tools to graduate and continue on to lead fulfilling lives.

How This Model Works:

Blended Learning

Penn Foster offers a blended learning model. A facilitator tracks attendance and helps students engage in both the online coursework and in-classroom curriculum. The program requires students to be in class and  accountable for their actions. Faculty members push students further and peers motivate one another. Most Job Corps students live on-campus where they're provided a living environment more conducive to supporting successful outcomes.

Curriculum Delivery

Penn Foster strives to deliver the most efficient program that enables students to learn at their own pace. Penn Foster supplies the student learning portal allowing instructors to better engage with students, and track their progress.This enables Job Corps staff to deliver on better student outcomes, as opposed to focusing efforts on clerical and administrative duties.

Successful Outcomes

Not only does the Job Corps help students earn their high school diploma, but they encourage them to continue with their education and learn a trade.the goal is for students to earn both a high school diploma and additional training and education towards their trade, as this dual-outcome will best position graduates  to succeed in life after Job Corps. Trade-related completion options support continuing student success at a Job Corps center beyond high school graduation. A school-like atmosphere with a sense of belonging helps galvanize students to commit to higher education and career training.

Expanding Opportunities

Without accessible and attainable educational and training programs many of these young people wouldn't have the chance to change their lives. Customized training, fully developed and approved apprenticeships and an expanded portfolio of offerings support Job Corps students. Non-traditional learners can earn their diploma through the online high school provider, leverage career opportunities and stay on to earn a degree from Penn Foster.

Results and Impact:

Since 2008, over 18,000 Job Corps students have graduated high school via Penn Foster with a high school diploma -- an important on-ramp to further educational and career training opportunities.  According to an Alliance for Excellent Education 2013 report entitled "Saving Futures, Saving Dollars: The Impact of Education on Crime Reduction and Earnings," if male high school graduation rates increased by just 5 percent, the nation could save about $18.5 billion in annual crime expenses. Educating the at-risk community through programs like the Job Corps, benefits everyone.

Learn more about the impact of educating at-risk youth: