Okay. Your son or daughter stuck it out through high school and you threw a big bash to celebrate. Then what?
If you're like many parents ( me for instance) your kid didn't stay around long enough to help wash the dishes. He had
his own dreams and they did not include college, or trade school, or full time work, or changing his socks more than twice
a month. So you suggested (maybe forcefully) that he would benefit from being on his own.
The real world can be a real downer.
After a few months of making one envelope of Ramen Noodles last for three meals and trying to find fullfillment washing
dishes at the local nursing home, he is back in the fold. And he's willing to listen to your advice.
So? What are you going to say?
My husband and I went to a foster parent training where the subject of Job Corps came up. And we liked it.
We mentioned it to our son...and he liked it.
Job Corps is a program for "at risk" kids.
Here's the deal. There is an old story about a town built beside a huge hill. People were always falling off the hill,
and the town addressed the problem at a council meeting. One group wanted to spend a lot of money on a new ambulance. Many
lives could be saved if only the injured could be delivered to the hospital faster. But the other group wanted to spend the
money to put up a fence at the top of the hill, so people wouldn't fall off in the first place.
In a weak economy, where more and more people are relying on public assistance, not as a supplement. but as their main
source of income, Job Corps is that fence.
It is a program which offers training in several trades, as well as help in getting a high school diploma if that is
needed. Even if the young person ( 16 to 23) has a diploma, Job Corps tests to see if they are proficient in things like math
and English, and if they aren't, courses are mandated.
Job Corps offers training in welding, business, medical assistant ( CNA) courses, masonry, carpentry, and a host of other
things. Many of the courses taught give the student college credits upon completion. Room and board, some clothing and job
expenses are all paid by Job Corps. They offer students medical care and counseling, too.
But there is strict discipline at the centers. And the instructors admit that though they strive to give the students
marketable skills, their prime goal is to teach attitude and ethics.
Job Corps recruiters urge students to study more than one trade. They may stay in the program fro up to two years, to
get the equivalent of a $60,000 education. In the Chadron, Ne., center, fire-fighting courses are offered by the Forestry
Service and kids can earn extra money helping the rangers control fires.
Not everyone who applies for Job Corps is admitted. There are some requirements. Income is one, and so is background.
Our son qualified, I believe, because he was a former foster child who was still struggling.
Anyway, we met with a representative of Job Corps and filled out a veritable book of paperwork. Then we waited. Last
week he was formally accepted. We took a trip to the center he will be attending to "check it out." I was so impressed, I
didn't talk most of the way home. Okay, but it had to be a mile and a half before I said something.
The staff was congenial. The students effusive.
And there were kids there from several races and ethnic backgrounds.
The cafeteria food was amazing!
The campus was gorgeous.
In short, we can't wait for the day ( probably only weeks away, now) when our son gets that call. And the real kicker?
He is excited, too.