Job Corps brings estimated $6 million into County

The Bamberg Job Corps Center brings into Bamberg County and South Carolina “about $6 million per year said Job Corps Center Director Eric Jones at the business luncheon Thursday.

The Bamberg Center employs 102 full-time employees, mostly local residents, with an annual payroll of about $4 million. Students can remain in training at the Bamberg Center for up to two years with training costs averaging “between $20,000 and $30,000 of ‘student scholarships’” explained Center Director Eric Jones. “The last study made on Job Corps impact,” Jones said, “found that for each one dollar spent on the program the nation brings in about three dollars in return. That, by any measure, is a very good investment.”

The Center houses about 120 students in residence providing vocational skills training and academic education, civic responsibility, character education, goal-setting and self-identification. Because Job Corps is a self-paced program, lengths of stay vary. The average length of stay is 8.2 months for all terminees and 12.1 months for graduates. However, the length of time students are enrolled in Job Corps correlates with post program services. Students who remained enrolled for longer periods of time are more likely to complete a career technical training program, obtain a high school diploma or GED, and gain valuable employability skills.

Local business man Tony Duncan was the guest speaker for the Bamberg Job Corps Center’s Community Industry Council luncheon telling the group that they “can be a positive factor in putting the lives of these job Corps students into a perspective of citizenship, responsibility, and skills.”

Duncan, Bamberg native and barber, was a 1986 graduate of Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School, a gradate of Benedict College in Columbia, founder of the annual Bamberg County Spring Festival for Youth, Secretary of Bamberg School District One School Board and Assistant Secretary of the Bamberg County NAACP.

“How can you help prepare these students for a productive life and citizenship?” Duncan asked. “By partnering with the Bamberg Job Corps Center, by bringing Job Corps students into your company to give them a real-world working experience, by hiring Job Corps graduates and by nurturing Job Corps students into the real world of work and employment.”

Former Mayor of Bamberg Franklin Dickson in attendance at the luncheon Thursday said he remembered when Job Corps donated a portion of the land for the Ness Sports Complex and when students helped with the 'Downtown Revitalization.'

The Center was recently ranked the number one Job Corps Center in the Atlanta Region that oversees 20 Job Corps centers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. As the only Job Corps Center in South Carolina, this is a remarkable and enviable accomplishment. Centers are ranked according to their student average-length-of-stay, graduation rates, job placement, academic achievement and other factors.