Hunter, a Job Corps student, cuts a board to be used for a bed built during a community service project.
Ben wanted to pursue a college education, but couldn’t afford the tuition. That all changed when he enrolled in a state-run Idaho Job Corps program which focuses on helping low-income youth obtain higher education or on-the-job training.
“I’ve always been interested in chemistry and I never would have been able to afford college if I hadn’t come here,” Ben said. “I’m going for a chemistry degree at the College of Western Idaho, and I’m going to finish my degree at Boise State or BYU.“
Ben enrolled in Idaho’s new state-run Job Corps program thanks to a three-year, $17.7 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to the Idaho Department of Labor, which restructured the program and now manages the Nampa facility.
“Our goal is to provide every student with a job and an hourly living wage of at least $16 by the time they graduate,” said Labor Director Jani Revier. “Depending on individual needs, students can enroll in the program for anywhere between three to 24 months.”
Joining Ben are 44 more students who are currently enrolled in the program. Twenty-six more will start Wednesday, Feb. 5. Idaho Job Corps Manager Tina Polishchuk, Ed.D., expects enrollment to reach 150 students by the end of 2020.
Idaho Job Corps staff are recruiting students by contacting high school counselors, social service agencies, through word of mouth, social media and by offering free campus tours on Wednesdays. Plans are for the pilot program to expand during years two and three by engaging in partnerships with community colleges in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene.
“We plan to serve an additional 50 students at each remote location, starting with the College of Southern Idaho and North Idaho College,” said Polishchuk. “Our goal is to have finalized agreements by the end of February.” Continue reading