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POV: Job Corps means more to community

The writer is the center director of Glenmont Job Corps Academy.

It was a long, back breaking day of physical work. The group of Glenmont Job Corps students who helped out several homeowners in the Schenectady’s Stockade riverfront section affected by Hurricane Irene were exhausted and had dried, caked mud on their boots and pants.

When they finished up, they left with more than just muddy boots. They left with a feeling of pride and a sense of helping others that prompted them to ask: “When can we help again?”

Job Corps students and staff log countless hours of volunteer service every year, just one of the ways Glenmont Job Corps Academy gives back to our community. Glenmont Job Corps has provided hundreds of hours to the Hurricane Irene clean up efforts as well as assisting with community service projects for the Equinox Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner, the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center, New Hope Church, Capital Holiday Lights, American Red Cross, Bethlehem Town Parks and more.

Glenmont Job Corps has had a presence in the Capital District since it was established here in 1977 on the site of the former Our Lady of Angels Seminary site along the Hudson River in Glenmont. We serve 340 students, split between residential students who live on our campus and some who are Capital Region residents who commute to our program Monday through Friday.

Glenmont Job Corps is one of 125 centers across the country. A unique national program, Job Corps provides a safe, residential environment for at-risk youth ages 16-24 to learn career trades or pursue further education. Job Corps gives hope to about 60,000 young people each year, many of whom get little support or encouragement to complete traditional academic programs.

Without Job Corps, many of these young people would be high school dropouts, unprepared for the workforce and reliant on government subsidies. Instead, they receive hands-on training and life skills they need to be successful and financially independent. About 86 percent of Job Corps graduates across the country go on to find and keep jobs, pursue higher education or enlist in the military.

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