Job Corps was initiated nearly 50 years ago as part of the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty. Administered by the Department of Labor (DOL), the nationwide program’s mission is to "help young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through vocational and academic training.” SLATE MCC recently took advantage of the opportunity to discuss this important workforce development resource with Jeffrey Taylor, the St. Louis Job Corps Business Community Liaison.
In this role, Taylor reaches out to St. Louis employers, helping connect youth enrolled in Job Corps with a pipeline to jobs in such fields as healthcare, culinary arts and hospitality, construction trades such as welding, carpentry and masonry, and opportunities in retail, security and transportation. “This pipeline is the St. Louis Job Corps advantage,” said Taylor. “We discover what a company needs, establish a relationship, train to these needs, [and] provide access to appropriate credentials...SLATE [MCC] is a big part of this pipeline and provides our students with additional access to services, information, and experiences while they are finishing up their training.”
Like SLATE MCC, Job Corps is authorized by the Workforce Investment Act. While SLATE MCC serves all kinds of jobseekers, Job Corps is a structured environment designed specifically to help model, mentor and monitor the developing professionalism of youth. Staff and participants jointly create a personal career development plan to help guide young men and women not only through the course of the program, but also into their careers. “It is the role of the St. Louis Job Corps to help them become the professionals today that they dream of being tomorrow,” said Taylor. The St. Louis Job Corps currently serves approximately 600 youth.
Taylor actively works with SLATE, both as a member of its Youth Advisory Council and as chairman for the St. Louis WIB Executive Board’s subcommittee on training. He believes that development of the local economy, and matching job seekers with employers, are mutual goals shared by both organizations. “Working together to find out what employers need and connecting them to our local talent, or in the case of the St. Louis Job Corps helping to develop that talent, is the keystone of the SLATE-St. Louis Job Corps partnership,” he said. Furthermore, Taylor emphasized that young people need to take advantage of every opportunity to learn a skill that has value within the St. Louis Metro area. "With skills comes advancement,” he said.
Originally a teacher specializing in students with reading comprehension and math performance issues, Jeffery Taylor has been employed at the St. Louis Job Corps Center for 15 years. Helping youth become ready for the job market has been a central part of both his positions, and will continue to be a primary task for SLATE and the St. Louis Job Corps.
St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment