Job Corps Fraud Blog

Nationwide mismanagement of Job Corps calls for action!

A Reader’s Comment about Job Corps Contractor Cream Skimming

From Thomas-

“I agree with Alice’s recommendation for an overhaul of the Job Corps system.  Nowhere in her posting, however, does she zero in on the significant contributing factor to the problems she cites; that is, the contractors who are more interested in “cream skimming” than in educating and training youth. (She states that they are not all capable of handling the extent of the system. I maintain that the contractors care about one thing – playing the system to make money.)

The Upjohn Institute for Employment Management article that was posted on this blog does an admirable job of addressing this issue. Assigning a task force at this point is like beating a dead horse unless the government eliminates contractors and up-to-date standards are implemented that conform to and are monitored by state education departments (which she does mention).

When Alice came into the system, mid-late 1980s, the forerunner of today’s obfuscated performance measurement system was already in place and the seeds for fraud were planted. The contractors contributed to the development and lobbied for the continuation of these performance measures because they fit their self-serving needs – to make money. They know that they can commit fraud by manipulating numbers and receive only a hand-slap from the government while getting rich at taxpayers’ expense. The government is like the goose that laid the golden egg when it comes to contracting. If contractors were eliminated and the program assigned to the state education departments, or the federal Department of Education, many of the the problems would be lessened or disappear because the contractors who run these centers have a very different agenda from that of the government.

Over the years the program has become skewed away from education toward the contractors’ game of warehousing at-risk youth and providing sub-standard academic, vocational training and residential living programs. Job Corps openly disregards the education standards of the states in which they are located and government officials now think it’s perfectly acceptable for centers to grant out-of-state on-line high school diplomas; one such diploma is granted from Mississippi. Imagine your child receiving an on-line high school diploma from Mississippi when you live in New York State. Needless to say, this “high school” is not accredited in New York.

One of the performance statistics that centers are measured by is the GED/high school completion rate; hence, the on-line diploma. The reason for the on-line diplomas rests in the lack of government funding to provide adequate academic materials, facilities and professional, academically certified staffing; un-willingness of local surrounding high schools to co-enroll students or lack of staff and vehicles to transport students to the high schools; and students’ lack of desire or skills to complete a more rigorous high school program or to study for and pass the GED exam.

Job Corps has become a complex issue: one in which contractors’ contributions to local and federal politicians and news media play a part, as does lobbying for support of Job Corps by the National Job Corps Association. Congressional supporters vote for continued funding, but their knowledge of the inner workings of the system is either non-existent or they just don’t care about the fraud and waste of tax dollars and phenomenal abuse of staff and students.

Yes, there are some wonderful success stories coming out of Job Corps, I am witness to many of them, as I also worked for many years in Job Corps for several different contractors on several centers.  I wrote programs in Washington, wrote proposals for contractors, up-graded materials and facilities, counseled students and staff, and developed and directed award-winning programs to name just a few of my responsibilities.

I feel qualified to opine that on the whole and in the long run, Job Corps is a very inefficient and for the money, a very ineffective program if you consider only the performance measures that are used to evaluate contractor program delivery. If you consider that Job Corps provides money to economically starved areas by providing jobs and money for goods and services in those local economies and keeps an at-risk population under some kind of surveillance and out of trouble, then it might be considered more successful. Even that is debatable – gang problems exist and on some centers these gangs “run the show” after training ends for the day. Read some of the postings on this blog to get an idea of the crime that exists on centers – not some centers – every center. The high staff turn-over rate on many centers would be considered unacceptable in any other industry but is ignored in this one. It is common knowledge that staff turnover rate is very low at the “best companies to work for”. Job Corps doesn’t fit into this category because of contractor practices and poor government oversight.”

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Filed under: Contractors, number manipulation, Performance, Reader's Comments, , , , ,

3 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Tonks says:

    It is very sad that the contractors and thier greed will doom a program that has indeed helped many, but what of those students who are being pushed throgh, without getting what we the tax payer are paying for, these students are being short changed on every level at IJJC, the center that I know about. It needs to be overhauled and the courrupt pushed out. I worked at IJJC while under goverment contract, I am not saying it was perfect, but the stutents got what they came for, help was there to get the student to actully learn and not be givin the answers to the GED or a Mississippi Deploma which is not even worth a wipe of your butt.

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  2. OJ says:

    Folks this sums it up for so many of us. I totally agree with your comments and facts. There is more harm than good being done. For what purpose? The communities and students are suffering at taxpayer expense. Staff turnovers are deplorable and another strain on an already stressed sytem. It is time for a change and unemployed contractors. Taxpayers, employees, ex-employees as well as students both past and present need to all speak out. The doors are opening for the corruption to end. We need to bring our ideas together as one.

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  3. Alice J. Scott says:

    Thomas, I agree with the turn over of the program to the Educational system and an up front focus on good, quality training. If there is no effort to change the focus to educaton the program is wasting funding and very inefficient. It should then be eliminated. I did not go into depth about contractors because that is a whole issue that could more than fill a book. It is good to see that others that have been in the system agree on where the problem lies.

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