This is a warning to anyone thinking of joining job corps, specifically the Pittsburg center:
My younger sister was looking for a way to change her life after going through some hard times and making some bad decisions. Looking for a way to help her to get out of her rut, I stumbled upon a website for Job Corp. It sounded great; A federally funded program for disadvantaged (financially or otherwise) students 16-24. This program was to teach them social skills, interview skills, and teach them a trade of their choice; or help them get a GED.
So, my sister said she was willing to learn more about it, and we went to an orientation together. The recruiter advised us that this was a 30 year old successful program and went over all the great things about job corps.
Since we live in a small town in PA, and she would have to go to a center in Pittsburg, we shared our concerns about safety with the recruiter. To our relief, he stated they had a 0% policy for drugs, alcohol and violence. If anyone was caught harassing, or hitting another student, they were kicked out and banned from the program. The same with drugs or alcohol. He also bragged about the gated buildings and large security staff.
Last week she took the 3 1/2 hour bus trip to the Pittsburg center; and it was an event she'll never forget. Once she walked in, she was instantly pushed around and heavily picked on by the other students. This is to be expected when surrounded by "unstable" 16-18 year olds; but then the abuse took a turn for the worse. That night she saw kids with plenty of drugs, and a brutal fight in the hall of her dorm over a pair of shorts. Her second day there, she was in line for lunch and was pushed away; students told her she was to fat, and should join at fat farm instead. When she tried to get back in line, 6 students, males and females pushed her and told her they were going to push her into a room with no security camera and beat the s**t out of her.
She left, and reported the incident to her assigned advisor, who told her it sometimes takes awhile to get use to it here, and it happens to all new students. When questioning to no violence policy, the counselor said that after several offenses, sometimes students would be suspended for thirty days. Upset and scared, she went to the head of the center, who told her she needed to get thicker skin, and to get back to her schedule. Terrified and alone, she called my mom pleading to get her out.
My mom then called friends of the family who lived near Pittsburg, and they agreed to pick her up. They were then met at the gates by guards and were told they could not enter. They said, "That's fine, we're here to pick up a student who is leaving...she's been threatened and feels endangered." Then the security officer gave them the run around. They told the officer that if he didn't have another security officer escort her out of the building, they would call the local police and have them get her out. Then they were told by the officers "The police do not have jurisdiction here"
What! Job cops is "above the law?" What kind of Texas chainsaw massacre horror movie was this?
Panicking, my mother called her counselor, demanding they release my sister. After downplaying the situation for about 1/2 hour, they reluctantly let her leave.
My sister went there to get a better education, and to get away from drugs. She went there to better her life. Instead, she signed up for a 48 hour nightmare.
Job corps is a prison for minors, and for the poor students who actually want to make a difference in their life, they are pushed around and threatened, and have no one, not even job corps employees, to turn to for help.
And to think; our tax money is paying for this dis-service.
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania