Job Corps was born out of The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which was part of President Johnson's broader "war on poverty." Since then, 2.5 million students have graduated from Career and Technical training programs offered through Job Corps.  Today, there are 127 Job Corps centers and for the first time they will be operating in all 50 states. This is a fitting milestone to achieve during their 50th year of operation.

I just spent the last 3 days at the National Job Corps Association's 50th Anniversary celebration and training conference. It has been an incredibly inspirational and humbling experience. Attendees range from President Obama's Cabinet members (Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez) to newly enrolled Job Corps students who are only 2 weeks into their journey. In an era of fierce ideological divide, it is refreshing to be around a federally run program that receives wide bipartisan support. Job Corps has persisted through Democratic and Republican administrations. I believe there is one driving factor behind the support Job Corps receives from both sides of the political aisle: it works.

Similar to other education institutions, Job Corps likes to highlight notable Alumni. At the conference they were represented by "Job Corps Heroes," who included: George Foreman, former heavyweight champion of the world (Grants Pass Job Corps, '67), Dr. Warren Rhodes, University Professor and film director (Earle Clements Job Corps, '67), Sergio Gutierrez, Idaho Court of Appeals Judge (Wolf Creek Job Corps, '70), Dr. MaryAnn Gamble, Physician (Gary Job Corps, '92) and Angel Ramon, US Army Sargent (Westover Job Corps, '07). These are just some of the successful graduates that have gone on to change their lives and pursue their dreams.

Applicants who are accepted into the Job Corps program come from some of the toughest life situations imaginable. Their family and neighborhood lives are challenged by poverty, violence, drugs and illiteracy. Many were unable to complete High School and many are unemployed. Day to day life is marked by chaos and the uncertainty of where the next meal may be coming from or where they will sleep that night.

At Job Corps, their environment is changed. Housing and food become certainties. A regimented schedule is followed. Caring and successful adults surround students. Healthcare is available. Students work with counselors and create a plan. Students can finally "breathe" knowing they have a two-year window to complete the education and training they need to be successful in life. Basic needs that so many of us take for granted are finally met. The unique gifts and talents that these students have been given begin to blossom.

Penn Foster is proud of our partnership with Job Corps. Over the last decade, we have been able to graduate and issue over 22,000 High School Diplomas to Job Corps students who were not able to earn this foundational credential in the traditional format or timeframe. We look forward to hearing about all they have accomplished at the 75th Anniversary party in 2039. Book your seats now!

Read More:

Penn Foster Goes to Washington : The Job Corps 50th Anniversary Celebration

Renewing Hope and Confidence: One Job Corps Graduate at a Time