JOBSTART was created by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) and its partner organizations and funded by the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982. The goal was to address the high numbers of high school dropouts and provide them with an alternative source of education and vocational training in hopes of leading them to better and higher paying jobs. JOBSTART concentrates on four core components:
· Occupational training
· Support services
· Job placement assistance
JOBSTART targets high school dropouts and economically disadvantaged youths. Because of the intertwining of socioeconomic status and race, many participants were minority youths with poor reading skills who were receiving some form of public assistance.
JOBSTART was modeled after the residential Job Corps program but was designed to be more cost effective. Instead of the intensive comprehensive support services and financial compensation offered at Job Corps residential centers, JOBSTART would provide the same basic components of the program but in a nonresidential setting. The JOBSTART program instructed youths in basic academic skills, concentrating on increasing communication, literacy levels, and math skills. In addition, youths received vocational/occupational skills training. Instructors in a classroom setting combined theory and hands-on practice to prepare participants for jobs in growing sectors and high-demand occupations. Support services in the form of transportation assistance, child care, counseling, and work readiness and life skills training were also provided. Lastly, JOBSTART personnel also helped youths find jobs related to the training they had received, matching trainees with positions available in the local community.
The underlying theory behind JOBSTART is that a reinvestment and emphasis on educational attainment will result in better employment and long-term gains in earnings. Essentially, the program attempted to give youths a second chance and tried to improve their lives and earning potential by combining education classes with vocational training, making them better potential candidates and employees entering the workforce.