The Job Corps program was created during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson in
1964 as part of Johnson’s War on Poverty and Great Society initiatives that sought to expand
economic and social opportunities for Americans, especially minorities and the poor. Job Corps
is one of the oldest social programs in the federal government today. A product of the Economic
Opportunity Act of 1964, the Job Corps was first set up by Sargent Shriver, a member of the
Kennedy family who ran many of Johnson’s social programs. Shriver modeled the Job Corps on the
Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, which provided room, board, and
employment to thousands of unemployed people.
The first National Director of the Job Corps program was Dr. S. Stephen Uslan, who was appointed
by President Lyndon Johnson and reported directly to Sargent Shriver. The current national
director of the Office of Job Corps is Lenita Jacobs-Simmons The Job Corps program is currently
authorized under Title I-C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
Our Center's History
Gary Job Corps, located in San Marcos, Texas, first opened on March 4, 1965. On November 20, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson made an announcement to his alma mater, Southwest Texas State University (present-day Texas State University), telling his audience:
“I would like to establish a Job Corps camp to train between 1,000 and 2,000 young men in the skills which will make it possible for them to contribute to the prosperity of the community, and to ultimately become leaders of their fellow men.”
With Johnson’s announcement, the former Gary Army Air Field, which had been deactivated a few years previously, transitioned from air base to a career technical training facility. Barracks and buildings were converted to dormitories, classrooms, career technical training shops, and offices. By March 1965, Gary Job Corps was ready to receive its first students — all male.
Today, Gary Job Corps is the largest Job Corps center in the United States. It is situated on 775 acres and is the home for up to 1660 male and female students.