I have a young adult nephew who's a bum. He dropped out of high school in 9th grade, never got his GED, got fired from the two jobs he's ever held, and he's spent the last three years hitchhiking across the country as one of the homeless, picking up a felony conviction for dealing marijuana along the way. Recently, my nephew came to town with his pregnant girlfriend and he says he's ready to settle down, find a job and an apartment, and become a father. And he's looking for help, as well as a job, in a locally depressed economy. His future prospects are currently very grim.
Job Corps was designed for young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 who are just like my nephew. Job Corps is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. The idea behind Job Corps is to turn the young bums of our society into productive, tax-paying citizens with good jobs by providing them with a free academic education, job skill training, housing, meals, health and dental care, and even a little cash allowance in their pockets while they live there. The average length of stay at Job Corps is about 8 months, but depending on the type of advanced skill training, the young adults may stay there for as long as two to three years.
There are currently 123 different Job Corps training centers located throughout the country, and they can be found in most major cities. The training opportunities offered will vary depending upon which Job Corps training center is closest to you because they tend to rely on the local economies to provide hands-on job training opportunities for the students. But in general, there are skill training opportunities in advanced manufacturing, automotive and machine repair, construction, finance and business, health care, homeland security, hospitality, information technology, renewable resources and energy, retail sales and services, and transportation.
I first heard about Job Corps from one of my daughter's classmates who also dropped out of high school in the 9th grade in her own teenage rebellion against authority. By the time she was 18, she realized that nobody hires drop-outs without their GED because of their lack of education and apparent lack of work ethic. She joined Job Corps and loved it there. It didn't cost her or her family anything to go to Job Corps. She got her GED, picked up office skills training as a typist, and she was finished in less than a year. She now works for an insurance company and makes more money than I do.
How much money will you get paid by staying at Job Corps? That depends upon how long you stay with the program. Students get paid every two weeks: $25 for 0-56 days, $30 for 57-112 days, $40 for 113-182 days, and $50 for 183 days or more. Students will also get paid $250 if they get their high school diploma/GED, and another $750 if they complete a career training course, or $1, 200 if they complete them both. When you add all of this cash in with the free housing, food, education, medical and dental care, this is a really great deal. Especially when compared to being a homeless, jobless bum who can't qualify for welfare because of his felony conviction.
But Job Corps doesn't stop there. As a part of graduation, Job Corps assists students with searching for and finding jobs, housing, and childcare. Over 90% of their students get jobs, join the military or go on to higher education. For low-income families and their young adult bums, Job Corps could be just the answer they're looking for.