For Citizens
A Long History
Of helping young people
Reach their full potential

Job Corps is a federally–funded comprehensive program that provides essential academic and career skills training and prepares students for success in every aspect of their lives.

Job Corps Historical Timeline

  • 1964

    • President Lyndon Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act into law and authorizes Job Corps.
    • Sargent Shriver is appointed as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity.
    • Charles “Hucklebuck” Logan, a 17-year-old from Baltimore, is the first person to sign up for Job Corps. He was one of the 50 to complete the registration process on opening day.

    President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (also known as the Poverty Bill) while press and supporters of the bill look on. August 20, 1964

    Courtesy of LBJ Library. Photo by Cecil Stoughton.

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Poverty Bill


    • President Lyndon Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act into law and authorizes Job Corps.
    • Sargent Shriver is appointed as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity.
    • Charles “Hucklebuck” Logan, a 17-year-old from Baltimore, is the first person to sign up for Job Corps. He was one of the 50 to complete the registration process on opening day.

    President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (also known as the Poverty Bill) while press and supporters of the bill look on. August 20, 1964

    Courtesy of LBJ Library. Photo by Cecil Stoughton.

  • Ventriloquist entertains Job Corps studetns


    • The first Job Corps Center is inaugurated at Camp Catoctin, Maryland, with 30 students and 14 staff members.
    • The first women’s center opens in Cleveland, Ohio.
    • Job Corps grows to 87 centers.

    Job Corps students are entertained by a ventriloquist in Catoctin, Maryland. June 7, 1965

    Courtesy of Library of Congress. Photo by Warren K. Leffler

  • young man looking up at building


    • Job Corps operates 106 centers and opened the first center in Puerto Rico.

    Leroy A. Scott, 18, sets out from The Bronx for the Ojibway Job Corps Center in Marenisco, Michigan. Scott was the 1,000th youth placed in the Job Corps by JOIN (Job Orientation In Neighborhoods), the largest youth anti-poverty agency. April 06, 1966.

    Courtesy of New York Post/Photo Archives, LLC via Getty Images. Photo by Arty Pomerantz

  • George Foreman visits Job Corps


    • Future boxing champion George Foreman graduates from Job Corps, which he credits with teaching him to read and write.

    “For the first time, I stood firmly on my own two feet. I'd suffered a lot of grief…and not only in order to survive daily life. At Job Corps, none of it applied. It was enough simply to be George Foreman.”
    ―George Foreman

    Olympic heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman, wearing his newly won gold medal, visits Job Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he received a certificate of achievement. Foreman sais he hopes to turn professional in about 3 months. October 31, 1968

    Courtesy of Bettmann Archive via Getty Images

  • Job Corps graduates are sworn in in Philadelphia


    • Job Corps operates 109 centers including 82 Civilian Conservation Centers in 35 states.

    Job Corps graduates are sworn in in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1968.

    Courtesy of Afro-American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images.

  • 1969

    • Job Corps is transferred from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the U.S. Department of Labor.
    • 59 centers closed due to Vietnam-era budget cuts.
    • Job Corps operates 50 centers in 27 states and Puerto Rico.

    Students sign up for Job Corps at the camp in Baltimore.

    Courtesy of Life Magazine. Photo by Leonard Mccombe.

  • volunteer recruiter talks with Job Corps recruit


    • Job Corps opens its first co-educational center in Oregon. Over the next 5 years, Job Corps adds 6 coeducational centers.

    Deanne Schumach, daughter of Mrs. Ralph Smith of Goodland, Kansas, talks with Mrs. Evelyn Hoyt (left) about Woman's Job Corps Training. Mrs. Hoyt is a volunteer recruiter for the training program for girls 16-21 years old. July 10, 1970

    Courtesy of The Denver Post via Getty Images. Photo by Bill Peters

  • 1974

    • Job Corps serves its 500,000th student.

    A Job Corps apprentice paints a sign at Mammoth Cave Baptist Church at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, circa the early 70s.

    Courtesy of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

  • 1979

    • Job Corps celebrates its 15th anniversary and operates 103 centers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

    “The Job Corps began 15 years ago on the premise that, if given the opportunity, young people who had grown up in poverty and frustration could become responsible, employable, and productive citizens … In the years to come, I know that the Job Corps will continue to assist young men and women, who might otherwise have been neglected and forgotten, to lead rewarding lives.”
    ― President Jimmy Carter, October 17, 1979

    President Lyndon B. Johnson visits with Job Corps students at Camp Gary Job Corps Center in San Marcos, Texas, during Job Corps' first year. November 8, 1965

    Courtesy of LBJ Presidential Library. Photos by Frank Wolfe.

  • Job Corps trainees wearing uniforms and holding objects identifying professions


    • Job Corps celebrates 25 years of service with 108 centers in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

    “With over 100 centers nationwide, this partnership of business, labor, and government has touched the lives of well over a million young men and women and made them part of a great American success story.”
    ―Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole,  January 30, 1989

    El Paso Job Corps director David Carrasco (center) holds a trophy with the names of Job Corps trainees being awarded for their skills. He is surrounded by recent grads of the program.

    Courtesy of The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images. Photo by Bruce Berman.

  • job corps students renovating a greenhouse


    • Congress calls for long-term expansion of Job Corps.
    • The 50/50 Plan is launched, focusing on improving existing services, while opening 50 new centers to serve 50 percent more young people.

    Job Corp students work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to renovate the greenhouse at Eastern High School. Joseph Campbell (left) and Anthony Briggs, both of D.C. and in the Job Corps, put a fresh coat of paint on overhead pipes. October 25, 1995

    Courtesy of The Washington Post via Getty Images. Photo by Bill O'Leary.

  • job corp students doing masonry on site


    • Job Corps introduces performance-related student pay, incentives, and bonuses.

    Students from the inner cities of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, in a carpentry training class at Woodland Job Corps Center in Laurel, Maryland. January 23, 1995

    Courtesy of Congressional Quarterly via Getty Images. Photo by Richard Ellis.

  • Teacher watches over student learning carpentry


    Job Corps operates 119 centers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

    Students from the inner cities of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, in a carpentry training class at Woodland Job Corps Center in Laurel, Maryland. January 23, 1995

    Courtesy of Congressional Quarterly via Getty Images. Photo by Richard Ellis.

  • 2001

    • U.S. Department of Labor signs an agreement with U.S. Department of Education, leading to the High School Diploma Initiative, which increases Job Corps graduates’ earning potential through the acquisition of a high school diploma.

    Graduating students celebrate the opportunities and independence their new skills will unlock for them.

  • teacher working with students


    • Job Corps celebrates 40 years of service with 122 centers and has one of the highest job placement rates among the nation’s job training programs.

    Business Tech Teacher, Delores Kelly (far left), provides her students at Potomac Job Corps Center with clerical as well as business skills. Also pictured, Stuart Adams, Monica McLean and Steven St. Dennis. February 18, 2005

    Courtesy of The Washington Post via Getty Images. Photo by Marvin Joseph.

  • 2008

    • Environmentally friendly practices are implemented on centers and into all training programs.

    Job Corps students in Miami Beach, Florida, protecting the environment by cleaning up trash. July 26, 2005

    Photo by Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images

  • 2013

    • Job Corps aligns its national center training programs with more than 350 industry-recognized credentials or union apprenticeship programs.

    Test administrator, Antoinette Inge, gives instructions to Potomac Job Corps Center students as they prepare to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. The multiple choice test is administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command and determines a student's qualification for enlistment in the United States armed forces. March 24, 2010

    Courtesy of MCT/MCT via Getty Images. Photo by Pete Marovich.

  • 2014

    • Job Corps celebrates its 50th birthday with 125 centers in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The program serves 60,000 young people each year and has served a total of 2.7 million since its inception.

    Hilda Solis, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor (right), gives a toast to Treasure Island Job Corps Center culinary students, Amber Carson (center) and Jonathan Abney (left), during a tour of the Jamba Juice headquarters in Emeryville, California. July 22, 2011.

    Courtesy of Bloomberg via Getty Images. Photo by David Paul Morris.

two Job Corps students sitting at a table, working, and smiling
About Job Corps

Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16-24 improve the quality of their lives by empowering them to get great jobs and become independent.

Created in 1964 during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Job Corps was as part of Johnson's War on Poverty and Great Society initiatives that sought to expand economic and social opportunities for Americans, especially minorities and the poor. One of the oldest social programs in the federal government today, Job Corps is a product of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The program was first set up by Sargent Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family. Shriver modeled Job Corps on the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, which provided room, board, and employment to thousands of unemployed people. Job Corps' mission is to attract eligible young people, teach them the skills they need to become employable and independent and place them in meaningful jobs or further education.

Job Corps helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds complete their high school education and trains them for meaningful careers so they can get a good start in the working world. Job Corps gives its students the opportunity to realize their full potential, gain new vocational and academic skills and become mature, responsible and productive adults. The program has trained and educated two million individuals in its 50-year history. Job Corps provides quality training and services by hiring compassionate, qualified staff. It also develops strategic partnerships with local and national employers and community service organizations. Currently, Job Corps serves approximately 60,000 youths annually through 125 Job Corps centers throughout the country.

Participants in the program are provided room and board while they work towards learning a trade, which can last up to two years. The program also helps students in completing their education and gaining employment. Participants are paid a monthly allowance which varies depending on how long they remain in the program. The Job Corps also provides career counseling and transition support to its graduates. Approximately 90% of Job Corps graduates go on to careers in the private sector, enlist in the military, or move on to higher education or advanced training programs. Graduates receive transitional support services, including help locating housing, child care, and transportation, for up to 21 months after they leave the program. Job Corps is committed to offering all students a safe, drug-free environment where they can take advantage of the resources provided. The current national director of the Office of Job Corps is Lenita Jacobs-Simmons. The Job Corps program is authorized by Title I-C of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.

As with any federal program, transparency is paramount. To see official documents and other materials related to Job Corps, go to our Documents and Resources page, or submit a Freedom of Information Act request.

Job Corps
to Know

Gain In Earnings For Job Corps Graduates
Net Taxpayer Money Saved Annually Per Student
Full-Time Job Placement After Graduation
Program Administration
Program Administration

Job Corps is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Job Corps, under the leadership of the National Director, supported by the National Office of Job Corps and a field network of six Regional Offices. Education, training, and support services are provided to students at 125 Job Corps center campuses located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Job Corps centers are operated for the DOL by private companies through competitive contracting processes, and by other Federal Agencies through interagency agreements. Applicants are identified and screened for eligibility by organizations contracted by the DOL. Following enrollment, job or further academic placement, follow-up and transitional career development support services are provided for eligible students through organizations contracted by the DOL. Job Corps is authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.

View all related documents.

Our Administrator
Our Administrator

Lenita Jacobs-Simmons is the National Director for the Office of Job Corps, under the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA). As the National Director, she has the responsibility for leading the program and its 125 Job Corps centers throughout the country. The Job Corps program serves over 60,000 youth, ages 16-24, each year. The largely residential program offers participants opportunities to secure academic and vocational credentials and assists them with securing placement in education, employment, or the military upon graduation from the program.

Previously, Ms. Jacobs-Simmons served as the Regional Administrator for ETA in Region 2, Philadelphia. In this capacity, she was responsible for oversight of ETA's Philadelphia region which includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Programs administered in that region by ETA and its state and grantee partners include the Workforce Investment Act, Unemployment Insurance, and the Wagner-Peyser Act. Ms. Jacobs-Simmons was responsible for the oversight of almost $2 billion in federal grants administered by more than 150 grantee organizations.

Ms. Jacobs-Simmons joined ETA in 1999 as Deputy Assistant Secretary. She was appointed Regional Administrator in 2002. Ms. Jacobs-Simmons also has a distinguished history of public service in South Carolina where she served as the Grants Administrator for the Charleston County government and Executive Director of the Trident Workforce Investment Board. In these capacities, she was responsible for unifying a tri-county area and implementing the first One-Stop Delivery System in the state of South Carolina.

A Philadelphia native, Ms. Jacobs-Simmons is a graduate of Temple University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

32nd President of the United States

Governing Acts

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

A green job is any job that helps put America on the path to a cleaner, more energy-efficient future. Green jobs are on the rise in the United States, and so are green training opportunities at Job Corps. Due largely to funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the green job market is expected to produce approximately 575,000 jobs during 2011 and 2012 in industries such as public transit, green construction, renewable resources, and manufacturing.

As one of the nation's largest youth training providers, Job Corps is committed to the development of green job training and preparing students for successful careers in the new green economy. All students who enter the Advanced Manufacturing, Automotive and Machine Repair, or Construction training areas will develop specific knowledge and skills related to green technology and industry practices. Those who choose to train in one or more of these industries will receive the latest training available to prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The green workforce is here to stay, and qualified green workers will continue to be in demand for many years to come.

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United States capitol building
Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act of 2014

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) went into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system and includes reforms to the Job Corps program.

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