Job Corps has announced an enrollment freeze that could impact over 30,000 low-income youths. The Department of Labor has suspended enrollment due to budget shortfalls that are reported to be over $61 million.
The program was created as part of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, signed by Congress in August 1998. The program is an effort to help “at-risk” youths through a nationwide network of career training facilities.
The Job Corps program is offered to youths between the ages of 16 and 24. As stated on jobcorps.gov, participants must join the program voluntarily and must meet specific criteria. Applicants must come from a low-income family, be a US citizen or permanent resident, have parental permission if a minor, and must not use illegal drugs or participate in criminal activity.
As reported by Breitbart, it is unclear what led to the deficit, but it is rumored to be due to “mismanagement.” The Department of Labor has received numerous complaints and demands from members of Congress questioning the deficit.
As reported by the Washington Post, Congressman Elijah Cummings is concerned about the timing of the Job Corps enrollment freeze:
“Though our economy is adding jobs, the number of unemployed remains high. If you add to that the fact that many of the unemployed do not possess the basic skills to fill even the few jobs that are available, what you have is a country standing at a crossroads.”
It is estimated that the Job Corps enrollment freeze, which is expected to last until June 30, is expected to impact the lives of over 30,000 youths seeking career training through the program.
The enrollment suspension is expected to last until June 30.