A Good Program
I've heard lots of people complaining that the poor and underprivileged populate the military. They say it's the only option that the poor have. Though I think military service is a good option (I enlisted when I was nineteen) there is another option.
Since 1964 there has been a program handled by the Department of Labor and the Department of the Army that exists to help those underprivileged people. It is called Job Corps. It's a program that takes poor people aged 16 to 24 and trains them for employment. This is a good program.
Here's how it works. If you are poor and in the age range, you contact Job Corps. They move you into a Job Corp center where you will live in a dorm. They will feed you and clothe you. They will handle your medical and dental needs. They will give you a little spending money on a regular schedule. They will teach you a trade. When you are done with your training, they will help you find work.
Like most government run programs, there are some occasional problems. From time to time a judge will give a juvenile offender the choice between jail and Job Corps. The punk almost always takes Job Corps. The punk then disrupts the education the program provides. Despite this, it's a good program.
On the plus side, there is federal security to watch over things. There are literacy programs to make sure you can communicate well. You will leave Job Corps as a fully employable person with a future. All you have to do is sign up and make an effort.
I like the idea of Job Corps. The state has an interest in making sure that its citizens are productive; ask any Economist. This is a simple program related to military service but without the being shot at part. That takes some of the fun out of it, but if you're not going to join the military this is a good alternative.
Job Corps could use a little toughing up. I would like to see them implement regular physical training similar to military PT. It would make the "jobbies" healthier and tired enough to enjoy being educated more.
As a nation, we need to emphasize programs like Job Corps. More people need to know about it. I've even known some people who think we should have a mandatory two-year civil service requirement for all teens. I'm not sure I agree with that particular extreme. Still, there's a lot to be said for helpful programs like Job Corps.