Retraining is one of the key weapons in the fight against unemployment, so it is not surprising that many governments around the world have invested considerably in helping to improve the skills of citizens currently out of work.
One of the most well known of these programs is Job Corps, an initiative from the US Department of Labor. It is the countries biggest education and technical training program, with some 60,000 students per year said to benefit from the courses and programs offered.
It’s offered throughout the United States, with approximately 125 centers providing the unemployed with various skills and trades to help them back into the workforce. Job Corps offers training and support for approximately 100 different occupations, including information technology, construction, healthcare and auto maintenance.
A recent statistical analysis, published in the Journal of Business & Economic Statistics highlights the benefits of the Job Corps program. It reveals that participation in the training offered by Job Corps has a positive effect on the salary of individuals.
The researchers trawled through data from the National Job Corps Study, which is a randomized experiment that is funded by the American Department of Labor to try and evaluate how effective Job Corps is as a program. The study tracked down individuals who had signed up to Job Corps for the first time at any point between November 1994 and December 1995. These people were then randomly split into either a control group or a treatment group.
The Benefits of Job Corps
The study found that participation in Job Corps provided a wage boost of between 5.7 percent and 13.9 percent in the four years after an individual graduated from the program. Interestingly, the boost was even greater for non-Hispanic participants, who saw their wages increase by between 7.7 percent and 17.5 percent.
"Our findings suggest that Job Corps has positive effects not only on the employability of its participants, but also on their wages, implying that Job Corps is likely to have positive effects in their human capital [accumulation during enrollment in Job Corps]," the authors declare in their article. "It is very important to consider the potential benefits of Job Corps and other training programs on wages when evaluating their effects."
The Appeal of Job Corps Students
This is reflected in the job market, with approximately 80 percent of Job Corps students gaining employment after graduation, with many employers seeming to prefer Job Corps alumni than candidates with no such background. This is a reflection of the quality of both the theory and also practical training students receive through the program. Students also receive support in softer skills such as leadership, communication and problem solving.
That this opportunity is offered primarily to the most disadvantaged members of society is an additional feather in the cap of what appears to be an outstanding success story.
Do we have any Job Corps alumni reading this article? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences from the program and how it helped you get back on your feet and into the job market. Please share your story in the comments below.