Long‐Run Labor Market Effects of the Job Corps Program: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Experiment
Job Corps is the nation's largest and most comprehensive career technical training and education program for at‐risk youth ages 16 to 24. Using the sample from a large‐scale experiment of the program from the mid‐1990s, this article uses tax data through 2015 (20 years later) to examine long‐term labor market impacts. The study finds some long‐term beneficial effects for the older students, with employment gains of 4 percentage points, 40 percent reduction in disability benefit receipt, and 10 percent increase in tax filing rates in 2015. For these students, program benefits exceeded program costs from the social perspective. This study is the first to establish that a national program for disconnected youth can produce long‐term labor market gains, and can be a positive investment made for society. The results suggest that intensive, comprehensive services that focus on developing both cognitive and noncognitive skills are important for improving labor market prospects for this population.