One of the best things about being the U.S. labor secretary is overseeing Job Corps — a network of 124 residential training and education facilities across the country. It’s a life-changing opportunity for promising low-income young people looking for a second chance at a better life. The program is both practical and innovative — giving at-risk students the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. It teaches work skills, puts young people to work, and it’s a program that works. It’s also one of the hallmark’s of Sargent Shriver’s work.
Sargent Shriver was the quintessential public servant — a creative visionary who had the skills and the drive to turn ambitious ideas into reality. He made things happen: the Peace Corps, Head Start, VISTA, Community Action, Upward Bound, Foster Grandparents, Special Olympics, the National Clearing House for Legal Services, the Indian and Migrant Opportunities, and Neighborhood Health Services. And with his late wife, Eunice, he raised a remarkable family that continues their love of service to others in so many different and important ways.
I’m grateful to him. The program he founded and my department administers — Job Corps — has become a pathway to career success for young people who have few options in life. From traditional jobs like carpentry to culinary arts, and in occupations that he never imagined when he began the program, like green jobs, Job Corps students are honoring him and his legacy through their dedication and hard work. I know they are grateful to him too.