|Students in the Joliet Job Corps Security/Military Career Preparation|
The Department of Labor’s Job Corps program receives an annual budget of $1.7 billion dollars. You’d think a program that is a sacred cow to people on both sides of the aisle and with that budget pushes out success after success.
Nope. This Great Society program birthed by JFK’s brother-in-law R. Sargent Shriver has turned into a money pit, a waste of that taxpayer money, according to those close to the program who spoke to The New York Times:
“Job Corps doesn’t work,” said Teresa Sanders, a former teacher at the North Texas center who quit in frustration in 2015 after a rash of violent episodes inside the center, but who keeps in touch with dozens of former students through a Facebook page. “The adults are making money, the politicians are getting photo ops. But we are all failing the students.”
In April, the Labor Department’s own inspector general starkly concluded that “Job Corps could not demonstrate beneficial job training outcomes.”
The labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, who oversees Job Corps, is the latest in a succession of federal officials, starting in the Reagan administration, who have vowed to overhaul the program. Job Corps, Mr. Acosta said in an email, “requires fundamental reform.”
“It is not enough to make changes at the margins,” he added. “We need large-scale changes.”
|NH Job Corps Center in Manchester|
The North Texas Job Corps Center just north of Dallas houses 436 students in a building surrounded by a chain-link fence and you can only enter “through a gate manned 24 hours by guards hired to keep out any intruders.” Student Donnell Strange told the NYT the camp is “a little like prison.”Who says it doesn't make jobs?
In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that 87% of those in the Job Corps lives in these dorms. The program “provides meals, medical care, books, clothing, and supplies, as well as an allowance for childcare and living expenses.” This costs a single taxpayer around $33,990.
But even those students in the program and college students who study these sorts of programs have started to question the validity of the Jobs Corp:
. . .
Even teachers advise students to escape:
One vocational instructor at North Texas, all too aware of the program’s shortcomings, has tried to focus on the barest basics of being a wage-earning employee: Show up on time, do not cuss out the boss and refrain from drinking or getting high during work hours.Look at what the Inspector General found in April:
But for the two or three students he feels are work-ready, he offers different advice: Drop out of the Job Corps the minute someone offers you a decent job paying around $12 per hour. The teacher wanted his name withheld because his approach conflicted with that of the management company.
Job Corps’ record-keeping is a hot mess, but in 27 of 50 cases where full employment data existed, graduates were working the same sort of low-wage, low-skill jobs they held before training. One participant completed 347 days of Job Corps carpentry training but five years later worked as a convenience-store clerk for $11,000 a year. Job Corps called this as a successful outcome, so what do failures look like?
In 2011 the IG found the program matched more than 1,500 students with “jobs that required little or no previous work-related skills, knowledge, or experience, such as fast food cooks and dishwashers that potentially could have been obtained without Job Corps training.” The audit also found Job Corps had placed nearly one in five graduates in jobs that “did not relate or poorly related to the students’ training.”
The new report suggests that Job Corps’ biggest beneficiaries may be government contractors, not rookie job seekers. Job Corps spent more than $100 million between 2010 and 2011 on transition-service specialists to place students in a job after training.