In response to a Wall Street Journal editorial article critical of the Job Corps Program.

Per a Wall Street Journal editorial article, dated April 22, 2018, “Launched in 1964, Job Corps works with 16- to 24-year-olds who grew up homeless or poor, passed through foster care, or suffered other hardships. The goal is to equip these young adults with skills for careers in advanced manufacturing, the building trades, health care, information technology, business and more. Nearly 50,000 people enrolled in 2017, and 87% lived in Job Corps dorms. In addition to training and housing, the Job Corps provides meals, medical care, books, clothing and supplies, as well as an allowance for child care and living expenses. Such comprehensive support doesn’t come cheap, the taxpayer cost per student last year was $33,990, and the IG (Inspector General) suggests that the investment often doesn’t pay off.”

(With all due respect, do you really want to get into taxpayer “investments” that don’t pay off? I didn’t think so. Let’s continue.)

(Also please note that the average cost of housing a prison inmate is $30,000-$60.000, depending on which state you’re in.)

The Wall Street Journal goes on to say, “The stronger economy means that businesses are clamoring for workers, and providing workers an opportunity to get the skills to match the openings is crucial. But too many government training programs show poor results, and those shouldn’t have a permanent claim on taxpayer dollars. Congress and the Trump Administration should take a hard look at the Job Corps and see if it’s worth the money or merely tricking too many young people with false hope.”

(Where does this logic come from? They say that “businesses are clamoring for workers,” so this would obviously be a good time to cut job training programs?)

An open letter to President Trump, members of The U.S. Congress, and the editorial staff at The Wall Street Journal:

Dear Mr. President, members of Congress, Representatives, and the editorial staff at The Wall Street Journal,

I would like to take issue with the assessment of our program here at Job Corps by The Wall Street Journal. I not only disagree with their assessment, and a recommendation to cut the funding of our program, but I would ask that consideration be given to expand the program.

Being a teacher with Job Corps, this would seem self-serving, but my request is anything but.

At any given time, Job Corps centers across the country are assisting around 50,000 disadvantaged and disconnected young men and women get their lives on a positive track. They are learning a trade, getting their high school diplomas, and becoming confident and proud of themselves. Many leave here with good jobs and as productive and responsible members of our society. They are also positive examples of “what can be” in their neighborhoods back home.

I see the transformation in these young people every day, and it is amazing.

As The Wall Street Journal stated, we deal with, “…16- to 24-year-olds who grew up homeless or poor, passed through foster care, or suffered other hardships.” Many are high school drop-outs, and many have learning and behavioral disabilities and issues.

In many cases, Job Corps is a last chance to turn their lives around.

In many cases, Job Corps offers an opportunity that their families otherwise would not be able to afford.

In many cases, Job Corps is an opportunity to get into a positive environment for the first time in their lives.

In many cases, Job Corps is an opportunity to make up for a life of wasted and mishandled opportunities.

In all cases, Job Corps offers real hope. I am actually quite offended at the assertion that we are, “…tricking too many young people with false hope.”

(Again, with all due respect, do you really want to get into “tricking” people and offering “false hope?” Again, I didn’t think so. Let’s continue…, again.)

The Wall Street Journal can take cheap shots at our “success” rates, but the probability of “success” with most of these students coming in is not good to start with.

Is Job Corps perfect? Of course not. But taking all of this into consideration, I think our rate of “success” is actually pretty good. It’s definitely better than the 0% rate we’d have if Job Corps wasn’t here as an option at all.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

MrEricksonRules

If you’ve read this letter and you’re not The President or a member of Congress, and you can see the value of the Job Corps Program, please let your congressperson and senators know that you support Job Corps’ mission.

Thank you.

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