Letter to Editor: Is the Job Corps Successful Enough at Its Job?

 

 

April 26, 2018 6:24 p.m. ET

Is the Job Corps Successful Enough at Its Job?

Students leave the program with industry-recognized credentials, trained and ready to contribute in high-demand jobs.

I have served twice as an assistant secretary for the Labor Department. Your editorial “The Job Corps Failure” (April 23) paints an unfair picture of the program. The editorial cherry-picks sections of a recent audit report to suggest that the Job Corps isn’t fulfilling its mission. Yet the conclusion of the audit was that the Job Corps needed additional documentation requirements—now in place—not that the program was unsuccessful.

Longitudinal evaluations of the Job Corps’ effectiveness have found that the program improves wages, literacy and credential attainment while decreasing criminal activity and reliance on public assistance. Eighty-eight percent of all Job Corps graduates are placed in jobs, higher education or the military. Students leave the program with industry-recognized credentials, trained and ready to contribute in high-demand jobs including health care, manufacturing and construction. The Job Corps works.

The Job Corps has positioned itself as the premiere preapprenticeship program and has developed valuable relationships with industry leaders. An example is Toyota’s Technician Training and Education Network—an industry-leading program that develops and places thousands of factory-certified technicians in challenging, rewarding and well-paid positions in more than 1,400 Toyota and Lexus dealerships across the country.

As you note, the economy is desperately short of skilled workers. The Job Corps is indispensable in addressing that skills gap and ensuring disadvantaged, minority and unemployed young people in both urban and rural communities gain the skills and education needed for today’s jobs.

Roberts T. Jones

Alexandria, Va.