Editor’s note: As we continue to post Job Corps stories in honor of its 50th anniversary, we want to hear from you. Submit your story through our Web form here − or share on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #JobCorps50.

Timberlake Job Corps historical photo

Archival photo of the Job Corps center in Timberlake, Oregon

Fifty years ago this summer, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched a series of programs aimed at restoring our nation’s fundamental promise of equality and opportunity. The July 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Economic Opportunity Act, signed on Aug. 20 of that year, were twin pillars of the “War on Poverty” – both committed to extending the American Dream to those who had been unjustly excluded.

One of the key elements of the latter bill was the establishment of Job Corps, a residential education and training program for disadvantaged young people ages 16-24. Job Corps is based on a value as American as they come, and it remains the animating principle of our opportunity agenda today: no matter where you started out in life or what ZIP code you live in, you should have the chance to make it.

Tongue Point Job Corps Center historical photo

Archival photo of the Job Corps center in Tongue Point, Oregon

According to Job Corps records, 17-year-old Charles Logan of Baltimore was the first person to register for training. The first Job Corps center was located at Catoctin Mountain, Maryland, where the students – all men – worked in maintenance and construction of park amenities, like trail signs, for the U.S. Forest Service. Johnson appointed Sargent Shriver, who had set up the Peace Corps for President Kennedy, as the first director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and the architect of Job Corps. He proved to be the deft and politically astute leader the program needed to survive, especially in response to local opposition to new Job Corps centers and the country’s preoccupation with the Vietnam War. [read more…]

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A Day in Ohio with Secretary Perez & Secretary Duncan

by Laura Miller July 29, 2014

Labor Secretary Tom Perez is traveling with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Toledo, Ohio, today to see first-hand model programs and partnerships that are equipping Americans with the knowledge, skills and industry-relevant education they need to get on the pathway to a successful career. We want to make sure you see what they see, too. [...]

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A Day in the Life: Deric

by Jared Benoff July 25, 2014

Meet Deric. Deric Richardson had been out of work for over a year. He had a GED and a Microsoft Office certificate, but needed an opportunity to improve his skills. That opportunity came in the form of tuition-free training in laboratory skills provided by the nonprofit BioTechnical Institute of Maryland. Shortly after successfully completing the [...]

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In Case You Missed It: Minimum Wage Day of Action

by Lia Gallitano July 25, 2014

Supporters of a higher minimum wage took to Twitter during the July 24 Minimum Wage Day of Action, held to mark the 5-year anniversary of the last federal minimum wage increase. Using the hashtags #5Reasons and #1010Now, community leaders, activists, business leaders, elected officials and everyday Americans highlighted 5 major reasons why it’s time to [...]

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Expanding Opportunities for Tribal Communities

by Jeremy Bishop July 24, 2014

Since Labor Secretary Tom Perez arrived one year ago this week, he has referred to the Department of Labor as the “Department of Opportunity.” He believes it’s our mission to expand opportunities by ensuring that all Americans are treated fairly at work, that they are safe while on the job, and that they have access [...]

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Stingy CEOs Should Walk In His Shoes

by Bill Nemitz July 24, 2014

Editor’s note: The following post by Bill Nemitz originally ran as an column in the Portland Press Herald. View the original here. Jim Wellehan, the longtime owner of Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, knows the importance of paying his employees a fair wage. A little context: The federal minimum wage currently is $7.25 per hour. Maine’s minimum, at $7.50 [...]

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One Year

by Secretary Tom Perez July 23, 2014

Exactly one year ago today, I raised my right hand and was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Every day since, I have been grateful for the privilege and have embraced the responsibility. I came to this job with the strong belief that the Department of Labor is the Department of Opportunity. And I [...]

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Promoting Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity

by Secretary Tom Perez July 22, 2014

It’s an exciting and important day for all of us who believe that re-investing in the most skilled and talented workforce in the world should be one of our nation’s top priorities. In recent years, more than 20 million people annually have turned to federal programs for basic education, job training and employment services. During [...]

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Mobile Gov Code Chop Shop

by Mike Pulsifer July 22, 2014

Editors note: The following post by Jacob Parcell of the General Services Administration and Mike Pulsifer of the Labor Department originally ran on the Digital Gov blog. View the original here. You’ve just found a great open source fed agency app on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog, and would love to use one of its cool [...]

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A Day in the Life: Kathleen

by Secretary Tom Perez July 21, 2014

Editor’s note: Aug. 20 will mark 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, which created the Job Corps program. To celebrate 50 years of expanding opportunity for disadvantaged young people, we’ll publish a series of blog posts to share Job Corps’ many successes. This is the first post in the [...]

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