Murkowski Gains Policy Change to Help Disadvantaged Youth

Senator: It Shouldn’t Take a Homeless Shelter Cot to Get Job Corps Help

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Senator Lisa Murkowski today received word directly from the Assistant Secretary of Labor that important changes to the Job Corps program requirements have been made that will ensure youth experiencing homelessness will have better access to Job Corps workforce education.  Job Corps is a program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and is the largest workforce development program in the country, offering free education and vocational training to at-risk youth ages 16 to 24.

The Job Corps program can enroll homeless youth aged 16-24.  However, the working definition of “homeless” required an individual to be in a shelter – for which there are none in the Mat-Su Valley or many places in Alaska.  A problem was identified when an at-risk youth was nearly prevented from enrolling because that individual was not in a homeless shelter.  Through Senator Murkowski’s intervention, the head of the federal agency operating the Job Corps program amended the rigid definition of “homeless” to be more flexible to accommodate all forms of homelessness for at-risk youth for all Job Corps centers around the country.

“We should not force at-risk youth experiencing what most of us would call homelessness to find a homeless shelter before they can get back on the path to employment,” said Murkowski.  “I thank the Department of Labor for applying some common-sense to this issue, because we should not be making life any more difficult for young adults who don’t have a place to lay their head at night.”

# # #