Job Corps celebrates 50 years of youth training at luncheon

Job Corps' 50th Anniversary

BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Despite the many attempts to break the back of one of the oldest social programs to train and educate underprivileged and underserved youth in our nation, Job Corps is the proverbial phoenix that has continuously risen from the ashes for 50 years.

The Job Corps 50th Anniversary Community Relations Council Award Luncheon was held last Wed., July 30 to acknowledge their local and national success by honoring those community organizations and individuals who have fought the good fight to give non-traditional students and dropouts a second chance at acquiring job skills for the 21st Century.

The breakdown of Organization and Individual Awards was as follows:

  • Elected Official Award – City Council Member, Wengay Newton
  • Industrial Council Award – Dwight Wilson, City of St. Petersburg
  • Large Corporate Partner Award – St. Anthony’s Hospital
  • Corporate Partner Award – Gardner-Watson Decking Inc.
  • Agency Award-Juvenile Welfare Board
  • Large Non-Profit Award – Pinellas Opportunity Council
  • Non-Profit Award – Deuces Live
  • Collegiate Partner Award – St. Petersburg College
  • Faith Based Award – Pastor Sam Infanzo, St. Pete Dream Center

The state-of-the-art gymnasium, located at 500 22nd St. S., was transformed into a full buffet style cafeteria to honor local individuals and entities that have contributed to help Job Corps achieve success in the Tampa Bay area. The awards luncheon was hosted by Carol Glover, Business Community Liaison of Job Corp and Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, director of Urban Affairs for the mayor’s office.

In addition, Charlott Rhymes and Devon Rismay were part of the Job Corps student volunteer group that helped welcome luncheon attendees. Rismay also entertained the audience with an instrumental solo.

A flagship 21st century program at the Pinellas County Job Corps is the green skills training that prepares students for the clean energy economy through connections with advanced manufacturing, automotive and construction industry areas.

Students in this program will help to protect and repair the environment while bolstering the development of new clean energy technologies.

Education, training and support services are provided to students at 125 Job Corps center campuses located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

For those who qualify as low income, the Job Corps offers a place to live and an education to students at no cost. This education and career technical training program helps young people ages 16-24 improve their quality of life through vocational training.

Funded by Congress, this 50-year-old program teaches young people skills they need to become employable and independent, and places them in meaningful jobs or further education.

In addition to career training, Pinellas County Job Corps also provides academic training, including basic reading and math. Anyone arriving without a high school diploma or its equivalency will automatically be enrolled in one of those classes.

There’s a program for students needing help with English, and there’s even a program to help those needing a driver’s permit obtain one.

Courses in independent living, employability skills, and social skills are offered in order to help students transition into the workplace.

The Job Corps was born out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty and Great Society social programs in 1964. Although the program has been financially cut back multiple times, it is now poised to add new Job Corps centers in needy areas. It seems that the mission of the Job Corps has given it the inertia and stamina to opponents’ criticisms and budget axes.

To enroll at Pinellas County Job Corps, please contact an admissions counselor at (800) 733-5627.

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