Job Corps is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive residential, education, and job training program for at-risk youth, ages 16 through 24. The program provides disadvantaged youths with the integrated academic, vocational, and social skills training they need to gain independence and secure high-quality, long-term jobs or further their education. Job Corps services are delivered in three stages: outreach and admissions, center operations, and placement. Center operations—the heart of the program—involve academic education, vocational training, residential living, health care, and a wide range of other services, including counseling, social skills training, health education, and recreation.
Participation in Job Corps led to statistically significant reductions in arrests, convictions, and incarceration. Key findings:
- A 16 percent reduction in the arrest rate attributable to participation in the Job Corps program, and reductions were seen across offense types.
- A 17 percent reduction occurred in convictions for participants in the Job Corps program.
- A 17 percent reduction also was seen in the incarceration rate. In addition, Job Corps participants spent an average of about six days less in jail than those in the control group.
Both stability of employment and earnings also improved among Job Corps program participants. The employment rate of the control group was significantly higher than that of the treatment group during the period when many treatment group members were enrolled in Job Corps. Job Corps members also had better earnings, especially over the long term, in years 3 and 4 of the study.
General delinquency involvement
Illegal gun ownership/carrying
No job or less than full-time employment in early adulthood (age 16+)
Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices
Per capita family income
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
Low academic aspirations
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
National Gang Center: Promising Program
Crime Solutions: Promising
Burghardt, J.; Schochet, P. Z.; McConnell, S.; Johnson, T.; Gritz, R. M.; Glazerman, S.; Homrighausen, J.; and Jackson, R. (2001). Summary of the National Job Corp Study. Princeton, N.J.: Mathematical Policy Research, Inc.
Schochet, P. Z.; Burghardt, J.; and Glazerman, S. (2000). Job Corps Study: The Short-Term Impacts of Job Corps Participation on Employment and Related Outcomes. Princeton, N.J.: Mathematical Policy Research, Inc.