Job Corps Fraud Blog

Nationwide mismanagement of Job Corps calls for action!

Job Corps and National Labor Unions (Part One)

Job Corps and National Labor Unions Part One…

President Obama issued an Executive Order on February 6, 2009 encouraging the use of Project Labor Agreements on Federal projects of twenty-five million dollars or more.  PLA’s usually require that contractors hire all workers through union halls, and that non-union workers pay dues for the duration of the project and the contractor follow union rules on pensions, work conditions and  dispute resolution.

What does this have to do with Job Corps?  In November 2009,  the proposed new Job Corps center construction project in New Hampshire was cancelled by the DOL after a local  contractor (with the assistance of the Associated Builders and Contractors ABC) raised a legal challenge to the project’s PLA requirement, arguing it was discriminatory and would disqualify most of the contractors in the state.

You can read all about the history of PLA’s as it relates to small business owners and minorities here (from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) website:)

The arguments are pretty convincing for PLA’s being discriminatory against small business owners and favorable to big unions. A further explanation from the ABC is described here along with opinions and news from major newspapers…and a mention of the proposed New Hampshire Job Corps center’s woes.

I wonder how many reader’s are aware that many trade union instructors at Job Corps centers throughout the US are influencing impressionable young minds with pro-union rhetoric (without allowing the students to hear a balanced point of view?)  At Shriver Job Corps there are three trade union instructors whose salaries were paid through their national unions (thus saving Adams and Associates a lot of money):  The Operative Plasterer’s and Cement Masons (OPCMIA), The International Union of Allied Painters and Trades AFL CIO (IUPAT) and The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA).

One only has to Google the words “trade unions and Job Corps” or, ” Brotherhood of Carpenters and Job Corps” to come up with a list of Job Corps centers through the US that utilize these union instructors.  Be sure to check back tomorrow evening for the rest of the story of what I experienced at Shriver Job Corps with the union instructors…


Filed under: Job Corps, Labor unions, Shriver Job Corps Center, , , , , , , , , ,

15 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Zach says:

    The thing you are off base about is your discrimination and paranoia concerning the Union. Without the Union existing, you would see your children working in sweat shops, you would be paid pennies for the work you perform, you would not get a vacation, retirement, sick leave, life insurance, health insurance, protection against discriminatory actions.You would be working 18 hour days without breaks or compensation. You would be subject to any form of harrassment or abuse your boss wanted to throw at you. The list goes on. Have you ever read the history of why they were necessary in the first place? If you did, you might have troubles sleeping at night. Where are you getting this belief system that there is something wrong with placing student trainees into Union trades which has the potential to offer them a better quality of life?


    • Harold says:

      Zach, coming from a family of union organizers, I thank you for your comments. Back in the 1930’s my father fought for workers’ rights and unions – in the depth of the depression. I think one of the issues here is that these particular union instructors may not have had the best teaching skills.

      One of the reasons for using union instructors, is that the unions have a long history of well-developed training curricula. Perhaps, they should also require their instructors to become certified vocational teachers, either through their own system or colleges that certify vocational teachers.

      However, the goal of the unions instructing in the Job Corps system is to train future potential members of the union who will earn a good living wage. This is a win-win situation for both the students and the unions (and Job Corps too – raises the hiring wage stats). So, of course, the instructors will sell the concept of the union to the students. It is to be expected- there is strength in numbers.

      The conundrum for the Dept of Labor in the New Hampshire Job Corps situation, is that it is, in effect, denying the opportunity for competition between union and non-union organizations, which is a contradiction to the central tenet of capitalism. In stalling the construction of the center, needy students are also losing out on the positive aspects and opportunities provided by Job Corps. But in an effort to be politically correct, or try to be in labor’s good graces to some extent, the government has made a concession to labor by entering into agreements with unions to train students at Job Corps centers.

      Susie is correct in liking the idea of union training. A union trade program can take up to two yrs to complete in Job Corps, depending on the trade and the commitment of the student. And the cost of that training would be prohibitive if taken elsewhere to students who qualify to enter Job Corps. To complete the program and earn a good wage afterward is a worthy goal.


  2. susie says:

    i can’t say enough good things about job corps
    i think you’re all way off base
    my son was in job corps at 16
    got his ged and drivers license
    and finish one trade in office technology
    his second(computer networking) trade lost their instructor to a higher paying job
    so after 2 months and still no new instructor
    no one would take half the pay of a jr college instructor
    my son chose to
    come home
    and has always had a job till lately when the jobs just dried up every where
    so he decided to go back to job corps
    and try a more hands on trade
    he is now 20 and was excited to go back
    and likes the idea of a union
    he’s going to learn heavy equipment repair
    i dare anyone to argue the point that it takes a huge financial burden of the families of young adults just spinning their wheels
    they pay for everything
    and my son came home much more nature then when he left the first time
    i’m sure the same will happen again


    • I’m glad that your son is having a good experience with Job Corps. Thanks for posting.


    • Harold says:


      I would like to address a few of your comments.

      You state “you are all way off base” and then you follow up with “after two months and still no new new instructor, no one would take half the pay of a junior college instructor, my son chose to come home.” Well, Susie that’s one of the things that we have addressed in this blog – sub-standard pay. You said it yourself – so how are we off-base?

      Then you say “they pay for everything”. Do you know that “they” are the taxpayers of this country? The corporations that run these centers don’t pay anything, they just take money from the taxpayers and it through a their bank account and into their pockets.

      We also state that there are many success stories coming out of Job Corps – but that doesn’t excuse the fraud on the part of the contractors and the government that is supposed to be monitoring these programs. I am willing to bet that you have not worked at a Job Corps Center; therefore, you are entitled to your opinion, however misinformed you are.

      You can’t possibly have read all the information contained in this blog and think we are “off base”.


    • Sandra says:

      Your son is 20 yrs old and spinning his wheels? Maybe if he actually had to pay for an education he wouldn’t be spinning his wheels so much. The huge financial burden taken off your family is assumed by taxpayers – it is not free. Maybe your son should be giving something back to the taxpayers that paid his way.

      The GED at 16 was a short-cut for him. In some states, like New York, a Job Corps student can’t get a GED at 16, they can’t even take the test until they are 17. The Dept of Ed in NY states that they also have to have been enrolled in Job Corps for at least three months before they can take the GED test. But contractors have forced the Academic Depts on their centers to violate the state Dept of Ed’s rules and send students to take the test before they have been in the program for three months. This is so they can play their number manipulation games.

      They also have forced the Academic Depts to ignore the state’s guidelines for reading and math levels before a student should take the GED. That’s why so many students fail the exam and have to earn a “high school” diploma from one of the on-line high school mills. This is also why GED testing sites (run by traditional educational institutions) are so upset with Job Corps programs – their students can’t pass the GED and these numbers are reflected in a test site’s statistics.


  3. Eric says:

    If the union is paying for the trainers’ salaries, this does not save Adams and Associates any money. The contract to run the center is written to exclude these salaries. It is not money that Adams would save and then put in its own pocket.
    The agreement between DOL and the Unions, however, is a different story as to how these salaries are ultimately paid.


  4. Jasper says:

    The Mississippi high school diplomas that Eric describes have been used at Iroquois for the past three or four years. I don’t believe they are even valid in the state of New York. They have had similar complaints about students unable to read.Unfortunately, the numbers game is more important than the welfare of the students.


    • I wonder if the original wording of the law states that Job Corps students “must be working toward receiving a high school diploma”. I will see if I can find out. If that’s the loop hole, then Job Corps could have students receiving their GED’s through the mail.


      • Eric says:

        The PRH states that the high school program has to be accredited in the state in which it operates. Obviously, this has been construed to mean the state in which it’s corporate office is located – not the state in which it has students.

        Today’s PRH states that the GED or High School Diploma is the academic goal toward which students are required to work if they don’t already have a GED or High School Diploma. (In some cases students are excluded from this goal, having been deemed unable to achieve a diploma because of cognitive issues, which have to be substantiated.)

        The High School Diploma can be earned in a variety of ways. Through a local high school that has an agreement with the Job Corps, a high school program located on the center, or a high school program that can be attained on-line at the center. At one time one could earn a high school diploma by enrolling in a community college that awarded a diploma after a certain number of credit hours was completed. Don’t know if that is still the case.

        The GED test is a national test, all students who take the GED test regardless in what state they are located take a nationally approved form of the test which is constructed by the American Council in Education. If a student passes the GED he receives a certificate which is then honored by the Department of Education in the state in which he lives and then he is awarded an Equivalency Diploma by that state. Each state recognizes the GED test as a valid measure of general educational equivalency.

        The comment about students receiving GEDs through the mail makes no sense. In Job Corps, students usually take pre-GED and GED prep classes and then take the GED practice test to see if they qualify to take the actual GED exam. If they pass the GED test which is taken at an official test site, they will receive their “GED diploma” sent to them by their state Education Dept.


      • I stand corrected. I should have said, “Job Corps could have their students receiving their high schol diplomas through the mail.” Thanks!


    • Eric says:

      New Summit School, the on-line program to which you refer, is accredited by the Mississippi Dept of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is not, to my knowledge, accredited in New York State.


  5. Eric says:

    Another reason for non-union labor: the government gets away with paying a paltry salary to staff. Staff work long hrs with little benefits compared to other comparable education and training and social service programs.

    Today, especially, working on a Job Corps is a stressful environment, due to the student population and the corporations who run the centers.

    The corporations see the Job Corps as a business and constantly remind the staff about the bottom line, especially the academic and vocational training staff. All they care about are numbers and the dollars in their pockets – not the development of programs and individuals.

    The students, who are very street wise, know that they are cash cows for the corporations and the training staff is often caught in the middle, being threatened by both administration and students: administration threatens them with losing their jobs if they don’t produce the numbers and the students hold them over a fire by threatening to quit or misbehave, thus again, impacting the numbers.


  6. Eric says:

    The Job Corps system has agreements with unions to run training programs at its centers (check the PRH for these MOUs). Some centers have union instructors and some do not. I have worked at both. At some centers, there is no agreement between the center and the appropriate union to run a trade: this was true for the building trades – painting, electrician, and plumbing. Could someone who belonged to a union, and did not live in the immediate area, have made the trip to the center to work – absolutely. At Shriver JC, I know of a union painting instructor who traveled almost 2 hrs one-way to work.

    Since the system is mixed, at least in regard to instruction, why does union labor have to build the center itself? Especially in an area that is hard-hit for jobs?

    I have worked on two centers where there were several bids to unionize the professional training staff and these movements were all smashed by the administrations of these centers. So if the union building trades can train the students, why can’t the other training staff unionize? The reason is that the unions are training the students to be placed in union jobs and to join the unions. This doesn’t always happen, however. I know of a student who completed the union carpentry trade and she is now working at an up-scale store in New York City in a job that has nothing to do with carpentry. I wonder if her job was considered a “job training match” by some stretch of the imagination, or DOL rules.

    Another problem for the unions lately: one union rep finds problems with students from New York centers earning “high school” diplomas from Mississippi and he states that they still can’t read. To work in the union, you have to be able to read and comprehend and o be able to communicate well both verbally and in writing.


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