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Job Corps Fact Sheet


Job Corps is the nation's largest residential education and vocational training program for economically disadvantaged youth. There are 122 centers in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It is a time-tested program, touching the lives of more than 60,000 young people every year. Since its inception in 1964, Job Corps has guided nearly 2 million young people away from lives filled with poverty and unemployment, crime and welfare and steered them toward brighter futures filled with self-confidence, independence, and productive employment.

Job Corps succeeds in a way few other programs -- public or private -- do. It is a full-time, year-round primarily residential program that offers comprehensive vocational training, education and supportive services, including supervised dormitory housing, meals, medical care, and counseling. The program provides occupational exploration; employment and social skills training; and competency-based vocational and basic education. Occupational trades offered include automotive mechanics and repair, business clerical, computer occupations, construction, culinary arts, health occupations, and retail trades. After students leave the program, Job Corps provides placement assistance for jobs, further education and the military, as well as transitional services and follow-up support.

Much of the program's success lies in its strict discipline and behavioral standards -- important for achieving success in life. Job Corps maintains a Zero Tolerance Policy for violence and drugs. Penalties for violations may be severe, including expulsion from the program.

Approximately 85% of students are residential; the remaining students commute to their centers daily. Students can be enrolled in Job Corps for up to two years. Enrollment in Job Corps is voluntary and programs are designed to allow students to progress at their own pace.


To be eligible for Job Corps, participants must be 16 through 24 years of age; be economically disadvantaged; be high school dropouts or in need of additional education or vocational training; not be on probation or parole; and be free of serious medical or behavioral problems. The typical Job Corps student is an 18-year-old high-school dropout who reads at the seventh grade level, belongs to a minority group and has never held a full-time job. Approximately 70% of Job Corps enrollees are members of minority groups; 75% are high school dropouts, and more than 30% are from families on public assistance.


The Job Corps program operates through a partnership of government, labor and the private sector. Major corporations -- such as Career Systems Development Corporation, Management and Training Corporation, MINACT, and Res-Care -- operate 94 Job Corps centers under contracts with the U.S. Department of Labor. Twenty-eight centers, known as civilian conservation centers, are located on federal lands and are operated by the Departments of Agriculture and Interior. Labor unions and trade associations conduct vocational training at many Job Corps centers. Support contractors, utilizing a national network of volunteers, provide assistance to former students in locating suitable housing and other short-term support.


The Job Corps program is one of documented successes. Eighty-seven percent of Job Corps graduates are placed in jobs, enroll in full-time education, or enlist in the military.

Approximately sixteen percent of all new Job Corps students leave the program within the first 60 days of enrollment. This dropout rate reflects, in part, students who find they cannot adjust to an institutional setting or the disciplined environment, or who have personal family needs which require them to return home.

This is one of a series of fact sheets highlighting U.S. Department of Labor programs. It is intended as a general description only and does not carry the force of legal opinion.

Information on enrollment can be found on the Job Corps Home Page at