$1.7 Billion Federal Job Training Program Is ‘Failing the Students’

The current employment boom should be a moment of opportunity for Job Corps: Companies report 6.7 million jobs unfilled because of the shortage of skilled workers, even as millions of inner-city and rural youths languish in poverty or dead-end jobs.

Superficially, the system seems successful. Centers report that, on average, 87 percent of graduates at most centers were placed in jobs. But many of those placements were in the same low-wage, low-skill jobs at fast-food restaurants or in the military that they could have gotten without the program, studies have shown.

. . . The inspector general’s report in April, studying the program’s outcomes, found that the training offered no discernible long-term benefit for graduates when compared with the non-college-educated population in general.

Although the program’s most successful participants have been able to earn $40,000 or more in their chosen trades, the Labor Department found that after five years, Job Corps participants on average earned $12,486 a year, barely above the poverty threshold, according to the limited payroll data investigators were able to obtain.

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