- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 2, 2005

More than 30 Job Corps students from across the country spent yesterday on Capitol Hill, shadowing members of Congress as part of the program’s 40th anniversary celebration.

Latoya Logan, a 24-year-old student at the Potomac Job Corps Center in Southwest, shadowed Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican.

“I’m very excited,” Miss Logan said. “I grew up in Memphis, so I like him.”

Miss Logan was given a tour of Mr. Alexander’s office before meeting privately with him and key members of his staff.

In return, Miss Logan gave Mr. Alexander a Job Corps T-shirt and hat, which he promised to wear when fishing.

“When I was 17, a U.S. congressman paid attention to me,” Mr. Alexander said. “It reminds me that I shouldn’t be too busy for young people.”

Miss Logan said she enrolled in the job-training program for at-risk youths after seeing a television commercial for the program. She attended Job Corps classes in Kentucky before moving to the District for an advanced clerical program.

“I’m learning word processing, data entry and typing,” she said. “I’d like to go into the health care field as an administrative assistant when I graduate.”

Most students complete their training in nine months, but are allowed two years to get through their choice of more than 100 vocational training programs.

The federally funded program was founded in 1964 by Sargent Shriver as an education and job-training program for people 16 to 24. His career in public service includes working with the Peace Corps and serving as chairman for the Special Olympics. Across the nation, 122 Job Corps centers train nearly 70,000 students annually.

“What Job Corps does is look at what is needed in an area and matches students with a training program so they can find a career when they leave the program,” said Trish Jones, a Job Corps spokeswoman. “Most Job Corps students, about 70 percent, are high school dropouts. Job Corps is a way for them to get back on their feet.”

She said allowing students to follow, or shadow, senators was the “ideal opportunity to increase the awareness of the program and let the country know what it has accomplished.”

Mrs. Jones said the students who participated yesterday had to go through a series of interviews and were chosen based on their interest and enthusiasm.

Mr. Alexander, one of eight senators and 21 House membershosting the students, encouraged Miss Logan to consider a job in public service, saying the best pitch he could make was to be a good example.

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