Job Corps to 1973
The largest of the War on Poverty programs, Job Corps, was created to alleviate poverty by providing affective, remedial, and vocational training for disadvantaged youth throughout the country. Job Corps was the first attempt in the United States to establish and operate a national program of residential vocational education. Legislation and plans for the program were drafted in a very short period of time, and the gains and failures of Job Corps' first ten years can be attributed to the speed with which the program was enacted. Despite early shortcomings, Job Corps survived a political attack by President Nixon, and emerged as a viable poverty program in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) legislation.
Records of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), Department of Labor, and the White House were reviewed. Interviews were taken with former OEO Director Sargent Shriver, two Job Corps Directors, and Job Corps staff so the first ten years of the program could be documented. Job Corps' planning and establishment, its operational problems and innovations, and its transformation from a program of vocational training in a Democratic administration to a politically-viable entity in a Republican administration, are described.