Last week, Penn Foster had the opportunity to attend the 2015 National Job Corps Association (NJCA) Leadership Summit. The event, which brought together Job Corps leaders, policy makers, and partners from across the country, focused on the challenges and opportunities for Job Corps heading into 2016. Here are Penn Foster's top three takeaways from the event:


  1. Job Corps is Uniquely Positioned to Serve Opportunity Youth - The highlight of the event was a CEO panel featuring Penn Foster's very own Frank Britt alongside CEOs from other Job Corps partners. During the discussion, it became clear that Job Corps possesses countless one-of-a-kind advantages that position the organization to best serve Opportunity Youth. These include a remarkably dedicated staff with deep expertise serving Opportunity Youth, an alumni base rivaling any college, a portfolio of local partnerships with employers and colleges across the country, and a truly national real estate footprint across urban and suburban communities. Simply put, Job corps is in the right place at the right time to make an impact on the lives of Opportunity Youth and help close the achievement gap.
  2. Job Corps Should Be "America's 21st Century Skills Academy" " While it's clear that Job Corps is well positioned to serve Opportunity Youth, Job Corps should reboot as "America's 21st-century skills hub" to best take advantage of its position. In a workplace increasingly focused on employee competencies, Job Corps should consider re-imagining some aspects of their operation model. This includes building national scale as Employer partners, focusing on innovation at its centers, and increasing digital technology both inside and outside of the center to connect students with employers and foster lifetime relationships. These changes will improve the ability of Job Corps to create pathways for its students to employment and capitalize on the advantages the organization already possesses.
  3. It's Vital that Job Corps Centers Market Center Accomplishments " It's clear that Job Corps centers nationwide are doing amazing work with their students and in their local communities. However, as was highlighted during the session "Working with the Media and Marketing Your Job Corps Campus" center staff need to work to make the broader public aware of these successes. This can be as simple as connecting with local reporters and politicians on social media or inviting them to events that are going on on-center. By showcasing the positive work that they're doing, centers will be able to build upon and increase the goodwill they have already developed in their communities.

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Resources: Photo credit. (1) America's 21st-Century Skills Hub