PRESTONSBURG — During a national celebration of the Job Corps Program’s 50th anniversary, the Carl D. Perkins Job Corps Center is pointing to some of its own successes in recent years.
During a Community Relations Council meeting Tuesday, Perkins Center Director Thomas Rainey outlined many of those triumphs, which included going from one of the program’s lowest-ranked centers in 2008, to becoming one of the program’s best centers now.
Rainey noted that in March 2008, the Perkins Center was ranked 104th out of 125 centers nationwide. By June of this year, however, the center now ranks eighth. In fact, Rainey noted, the Perkins Center has been among the nation’s top 10 job corps centers in 17 of the past 18 months.
Rainey attributes the success in recent years to a holistic focus on improvement. Whether it be in improving the center’s grounds, offering high-performing students perks like better rooms and computer tablets, or adding new programs, such as a heavy equipment operator program in partnership with Hazard Community and Technical College or a planned venture with Floyd County Schools to place 20 high school seniors at the center in the afternoons to learn a trade, Rainey said the Perkins Center strives for the best.
Started in 1964 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, the Job Corps program provides career technical training and education for low-income young people ages 16 through 24. Since opening the first of what would become 125 centers, the program has trained more than 2.7 million young people.
Tuesday’s meeting was just one of the events planned for the national celebration. Other events include a reunion for former students and directors on Wednesday, a center-wide celebration on Thursday, and participation in National Commencement Day on Friday.