Washington, D.C. (November 6, 2015) — Frank Britt, chief executive officer of Penn Foster, Inc., a leader in career-focused online and blended education, this week called for a rebooting of the Job Corps as “America’s 21st-century Skills Hubs,” saying that the widely respected 50-year-old organization is “in the right place at the right time to pivot and deliver on the emerging needs of students and leading employers in the new skills economy.”
Britt issued his call for a Job Corps reboot at the National Job Corps Association (NJCA) Leadership Summit, which took place in Washington, DC earlier this week. The Penn Foster leader made his comments during a CEO panel presentation titled ‘Job Corps for the Future,’ a roundtable discussion aimed at providing strategic insight and a long-term blueprint for the nationwide organization.
Attending the summit were more than 250 NJCA members, including the NJCA’s Board of Directors, Operators’ Advisory Committee, center corporate and agency operators, center directors, and business and community liaisons. The CEO panel was moderated by NJCA’s own CEO, Lonnie P. Taylor.
Citing the nation’s “middle skills crisis,” and the fact that 7,000 students are dropping out of high school every day, and growing emphasis on both career and college readiness, Britt said that Job Corps’ platform is perfectly positioned to enable next generation skill-hubs focused on academic, career and life effectiveness for the opportunity youth segment of the workforce. These efforts would be in lock-step with national and local private sector partners clustered around the organization’s 125 nationwide centers.
Britt said that “Job Corps operate at the epicenter of the resurgent movement to earnestly help empower second-chance learners with confidence and creditable pathways to career and economic mobility. They are an organization that consistently delivers outcomes to at-risk populations and helps level the playing field of opportunity and income inequality.”
Britt asserted that to be most relevant in a workplace where candidate and employee competence is assessed and measured with increasing precision “the Job Corps organization of the future must re-imagine important elements of their operating model. This re-architecting should aspire to an end-state with different student information habits, digital learning, alternative credentialing, and new training models such as tech boot-camps.” A key shift should also include more purposefully cultivating relationships with learners beyond time on center, unlocking the value an expansive nationwide alumni network of middle-skilled professionals, and an explicit game-plan to translate unmatched scale and scope into preferred national employer relationships for employment.”
Britt said the Job Corps has a one-of-kind portfolio of assets and capabilities that rivals any leading private sector training organization and would be extremely difficult to replicate. The Penn Foster CEO added that Job Corps “should be celebrated for its powerful mix of ingenuity, efficiency and effectiveness.” He asserted the proprietary advantage of the organization was its unique blend of “expert and compassionate staff, a national real estate footprint, a successful alumni base and strong, and unmatched local goodwill from the business partners and communities they have helped improve.”
Britt said: “It is a classic case study of an at-scale and innovative service organization that has been preoccupied with relentlessly delivering value to its users, rather than systematically promoting its transformational impact on the lives of its students.”
Penn Foster and the NJCA are united in a common mission to combat the dropout crisis, close the skills gap, and create opportunities that change the lives of opportunity youth. At the summit, Britt and Taylor also announced that 25,000 Job Corps program members have graduated from Penn Foster High School since the School first began working with Job Corps in 2008.
The Penn Foster-Job Corps partnership began with the very first Penn Foster high school completion program offered at the Blue Ridge, VA Job Corps in 2008. Since then, Penn Foster has continued to invest and improve the high school program provided to Job Corps. In June 2013, Penn Foster expanded the offerings available to Job Corps centers by adding college and career pathway programs. Penn Foster and Job Corps plan to continue expanding their partnership by implementing specific career programs at centers that offer specialized career-focused training.
“We are excited about our partnership with Penn Foster, said Lonnie Taylor, president and CEO, National Job Corps Association. “Along with Job Corps’ 50 years of experience working with at-risk youth, and Penn Foster’s knowledge of academic and digital learning strategies with a changing youth population, the opportunities are extraordinary for Job Corps and the young people the program serves.”
“Penn Foster strives to provide unparalleled service levels to our Job Corps locations and has a dedicated team working to accomplish this goal,” added Taylor. “They provide a far broader portfolio of education and training offerings than just high school, and Penn Foster’s existing relationships with colleges and employers are leveraged by Job Corps centers to improve placement in job and post-secondary programs. We were excited to have Frank Britt with us at the summit to celebrate our most recent milestone, and to explore further student-centered initiatives in 2016 and beyond.”
About the National Job Corps Association
The mission of the National Job Corps Association is to unite the Job Corps community through activities and services that strengthen the program for the benefit of students, staff and employers. The National Job Corps Association, Inc. (NJCA) is a 501 (c) (6) professional trade association comprised of business, labor, volunteer, advocacy, academic and community organizations. NJCA was founded in 1998 by 38 charter member organizations consisting largely of the for-profit and non-profit contractors that operated the then 118 Job Corps centers around the nation. Since 1998, the membership of the NJCA has more than doubled and grown to include employer and community partners. By uniting these stakeholders, the NJCA has strengthened the Job Corps through government relations, grassroots education and outreach, informing national policy, and outreach campaigns that increase the visibility of Job Corps. For more information, visit http://njcaweb.org/.
About Penn Foster
Founded in 1890, Penn Foster has been a leader in career-focused distance and blended learning for 125 years through its high school, career school and college. Through direct enrollment by students as well as partnerships with schools and businesses, more than 13 million people have taken Penn Foster-enabled courses to further their education and better position them for life success. Today, Penn Foster enrolls more than 100,000 new students each year in programs designed to address the gap in middle skilled careers. Penn Foster combines affordable career-oriented education with a flexible delivery model ranging from pure play online to onsite blended learning solutions. For more information, visit www.pennfoster.edu.