On the Merits of Job Corps

By Maia Lamdany

Edited by Beci Russell

I am going to use this post to extoll Job Corps, a program in which some of my clients have enrolled. It is a nationwide program for low-income individuals between the ages of 16-24 (someone can enroll right before their 25th birthday and still do the program). Participants may live at Job Corps if they would like, or they can commute and Job Corps will give them a weekly bus pass. Pittsburgh Job Corps will train participants in certain fields within health, construction, or hospitality, including training to be a certified nurse assistant. Other Job Corps centers will provide training in other fields, but the advantage of the Pittsburgh center is that participants can live with their families.

Unlike many other training programs, participants do not need to pass a test to enroll in Job Corps. If someone does not have a high school diploma already, Job Corps has classes for them to obtain either a high school diploma or a GED.

Job Corps is also a great option for high school graduates who are able to enroll in college. Job Corps has a partnership with CCAC and will pay for classes and textbooks as long as participants choose one of Job Corps’ designated majors in high-growth fields. While this will not cover every area of study, it is ideal for many. I was able to help two Iraqi sisters enroll in CCAC through Job Corps, and their parents happily told me that they started classes last week and are studying very hard. To take advantage of this opportunity one must “pass” the Compass test (CCAC’s placement test).

Other advantages of Job Corps include a very small stipend, a bus pass, health insurance, and a sizable monetary reward for completion of the program.

Job Corps is not for everyone, however. It is a full-time program, so someone who needs to work full-time likely will not be able to do it, although I know people who had part-time jobs while enrolled in Job Corps. Participants also need to know some English initially in order to be successful in Job Corps.

I have helped several clients enroll in the two Job Corps programs, and Job Corps truly does seem to offer great opportunities.

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