Job Corps offered locally

With summer coming just around the corner, the Job Corps is looking for a few good young men and women to help enter into the workforce.Job Corps is the nation's oldest and largest residential training program, founded in 1964 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Funded by the Department of Labor, young adults can receive scholarships that offer training in education and vocations, provide room and board and help develop positive character traits and work ethic to succeed in the workforce at no cost.Training provided by Job Corps include manufacturing, automotive and machine repair, construction and finance and business. More career training is offered in health care, homeland security, hospitality and information technology. Also included are careers in renewable resources and energy, retail sales and service and transportation. Not every center offers each career option, and many more options are available.Various benefits come from entering the Job Corps program. Students can receive a high school diploma or an equivalent and even a driver's license. Monetary advantages such as a living and clothing allowance are given to students, as well as a bonus for completing their Job Corps education. Employability training and career placement are also offered before graduation.While the opportunity is a promising one, Job Corps holds to very high standards. Commitment toward the completion of the program, which is self-paced and can span anywhere from 12 to 24 months, must be demonstrated by the student in becoming a Job Corps graduate. Also, the program has a zero tolerance policy for drugs and violence.Applicants must be between 16 to 24 years of age and must meet an income requirement of "economically disadvantaged." Other requirements for eligibility into Job Corps include passing a drug test for drugs and alcohol and students cannot interview with any open court cases, outstanding fines, restitution or community service. Should an applicant have children, arrangements for proper child care must be made before enrolling. Also, students must display respect and a positive attitude during the Job Corps program as they establish a career or future for themselves.Various regional Job Corps centers are established in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Local orientations are held in Abilene, San Angelo and at the Workforce Centers in Snyder, Brownwood, Stephenville and in Sweetwater. Each year, more than 100,000 young people are trained in 123 nationwide centers. Among the graduates of Job Corps is boxer George Foreman, Olympic gold medalist and two-time heavyweight world champion.Paula Harris, admissions counselor at the Abilene Job Corps outreach office, is a firm believer in the program. "We can find a place for them," she said of students, either those who are unable to attend college or those who are simply tired of staring at college textbooks all the time. A brief orientation was held on Wednesday morning, Jan. 26, at the Texas Workforce Center located on Bell Street in Sweetwater. Harris did state, however, that their next meeting in Sweetwater will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. at the same location. From that point on, Harris will be in town on the fourth Wednesday of each month.For more information on Job Corps, visit the national website at To contact Harris with more information on the local Job Corps program, please call the Abilene office at 325-795-4231 or email her at