Someone once told me that you never really leave Job Corps. As I begin my second tour as national director, I can testify to that. Over the past 8 years, I’ve carried the program with me − its successes and challenges − in my heart. I am thrilled, and honored, to be a part of the Job Corps family once again.
During my first tour in 2004-2006, the focus at Job Corps was on rigor and relevance. And in the period that followed, the Job Corps staff followed through. Today, Job Corps offers students more certification and advanced training programs, along with high school diplomas and other credentials required by employers. We develop more dreams than ever before.
Without a doubt, Job Corps face challenges as we begin the new program year. But I also have no doubt that we will meet those challenges and overcome them, just as our students overcome a variety of challenges every day. I know this because I know the Job Corps staff and I’m looking forward to working with them again.
Here are the priorities for the upcoming year, as I see them:
- Fill the centers.
- Stabilize the program so that students, employers and taxpayers can count on us for the next 50 years and beyond.
- Refocus the program on its core mission: training low-income young people for high-growth jobs. Our economy depends on it.
This past year has been a difficult one for Job Corps. But this is what I believe: We will build a better program. I can’t think of more important work, and I couldn’t ask for a better team to get this done.
Grace Kilbane is the national director of Job Corps.
Editor’s note: Job Corps is seeking new applicants ages 16 to 24 for its national career training and education program at 125 campuses across the country. Residential and nonresidential slots are available for the self-paced federal program. This is an ideal opportunity to gain education, career training, and employability skills for eligible low-income individuals who may be looking for a steppingstone to a community college or for those who need additional support to pursue a community college degree.