EWA Radio

No School, No Work, No Chance
The federal Job Corps program is falling short in serving millions of young people who are otherwise disconnected from pathways to meaningful employment, a Washington Monthly investigation finds
(EWA Radio Episode 268)

photo of help wanted sign in window

The only federal program intended to help disconnected young adults find meaningful job training has turned into a $1.7 billion boondoggle. That’s the big takeaway from a new investigation by Anne S. Kim of Washington Monthly. The Job Corps’ residential model has remained largely unchanged since its inception in the 1960s. Kim argues that the program is now ill-equipped to meet the needs of the population it is intended to serve: young people ages 16-24 who are already facing challenges including poverty or aging out of the foster care system. And it’s a population that’s only grown in size amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim, an EWA Reporting Fellow, shares insights from her project, including how local journalists can find valuable data on private contractors operating Job Corps centers in all 50 states, as well as broader stories about disconnected youth.

photo of Anne Kim

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