US Department of Jobs Corps

Job Corps is the nation’s largest free residential education and job training program for young adults ages 16-24. The program largely serves at-risk and economically disadvantaged youth that represent diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds from rural, small town and urban environments throughout the country. When the U.S. Department of Labor decided to revamp the Job Corps program, the Cascades Job Corps College & Career Academy (Cascades Academy) was identified as the first location to launch the pilot program. Their goal was simple: Create opportunities for students in growing job sectors where they could earn a livable wage as soon as they graduated.  The challenge was that most students that came to Job Corps lacked the foundational computer science concepts needed to participate in technology careers. Nevertheless, the Cascades pilot program was launched with an ambitious goal of preparing its 200+ students with the foundational knowledge and readiness to begin career pathways for in-demand jobs.  

Scope of Work

Meucci & Company was charged to design, launch and management of a success model for the Cascade Job Corps.  In addition, we lead efforts to scale and replicate the program across other Job Corps Centers across the country. The project’s four major focus areas included the following: 

  • the integration of industry-relevant, technology education and certification curriculums;
  • student certification testing;
  • educator professional development; and 
  • support the organizational learning and change processes

Meucci ultimately managed a multi-year effort that facilitated, deployed, monitored, and provided technical assistance to 10 Job Corp Centers across the country.  


Meucci utilized approaches that put students at the core of all project activities. This included prioritizing key agencies such as confidence and awareness needed to learn and to make career choices. Meucci also supported the project’s agenda by building partnerships with local community colleges and engaging industryThe community college partnerships allowed Job Corps students to enroll in classes that prepared them to pursue college level computer science educationThe engagements with industry informed student readiness for computer science career pathwaysBoth approaches were intended to help build resources for student social capital.   The project’s organizational learning agenda was intended to drive the internal cultural shifts needed to ensure the scale and sustainability of the projectIn this vein, Meucci also led activities that promoted the benefits of the program among Job Corps staff and created the necessary buy-in by engaging with them as collaborators on the project. For the project’s expansion, Meucci also selected the sites and reviewed the trades curriculum to determine where digital skills could be used to enhance learning.


  • Replicated the pilot program to 10 other Job Corps centers throughout the country 
  • On completion of the project, created a playbook for Job Corps to roll out the program to all 126 sites. 

Key Outcomes

  • Certification test rate went from 0 to 818 
  • Certifications taken over 2-year period had a pass rate average of 48% (national average is 40%) 
  • Developed partnerships between the Cascade Job Corps center and local community colleges 
  • Watcom Community College—eligible students were prepared to enroll in the college’s nationally recognized cyber security program. 
  • Skagit Community College—211 of the 280 Job Corps students were enrolled to take classes.  Job Corps students-maintained GPAs higher than the college’s average student