Last week, Penn Foster traveled to Arlington, VA to attend the 2016 National Job Corps Association (NJCA) Policy Forum. Having taken part in previous events including the
2015 NJCA Leadership Summit and the Job Corps 50th Anniversary celebration, we were honored to have another opportunity to meet with Job Corps center operators, advocates, community leaders, and policymakers to discuss the critical issues facing Job Corps today. Penn Foster CEO Frank Britt had the privilege of speaking at the opening session of the event.

A theme that was prevalent through the conference was the future of education and the role that Job Corps plays in serving Opportunity Youth. Education is the most powerful tool to enable upward economic mobility and Job Corps, Britt remarked in his speech, is uniquely positioned to empower this mobility by establishing itself as a next generation skills hub for academic, career and life effectiveness. This is due to the organization's one-of-a-kind portfolio of people, assets and capabilities including:

  • Leading experts with deep experience servicing disengaged youth
  • Nationwide reach through a network of over 125 centers centralized through a "federated" operating model
  • Local influence that empowers local organizations and leaders to be their best selves
  • Unmatched scale rivaling any leading private sector training organization

While Job Corps is well positioned to best serve Opportunity Youth, Britt continued, the organization needs to continue to adapt to changing student needs. Students today are increasingly looking for a personalized education experience and expect to have content that's customized to their interests, learning styles, and overall goals.

In that light, it's important to offer different education opportunities for different students - be it career focused or college prep - as this will align students with their future goals and enhance overall student employability. By adapting to the direction education is moving and leveraging their unique resources, Job Corps is in a perfect position to serve Opportunity Youth and prepare their graduates to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

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