The Job Corps program was created during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson in
1964 as part of Johnson’s War on Poverty and Great Society initiatives that sought to expand
economic and social opportunities for Americans, especially minorities and the poor. Job Corps
is one of the oldest social programs in the federal government today. A product of the Economic
Opportunity Act of 1964, the Job Corps was first set up by Sargent Shriver, a member of the
Kennedy family who ran many of Johnson’s social programs. Shriver modeled the Job Corps on the
Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, which provided room, board, and
employment to thousands of unemployed people.
The first National Director of the Job Corps program was Dr. S. Stephen Uslan, who was appointed
by President Lyndon Johnson and reported directly to Sargent Shriver. The current national
director of the Office of Job Corps is Lenita Jacobs-Simmons The Job Corps program is currently
authorized under Title I-C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
Our Center's History
The site that is today the Gulfport Job Corps Center began its life in 1921 as a two-story wood frame school building, the only school for African-Americans in the city of Gulfport at the time. In 1954, more sturdy brick structures were added, and 33rd Avenue High School looked a lot like many of the modern high schools of the time. When Gulfport Public Schools were integrated in 1969, 3333rd Avenue High School was closed, and the site eventually became the Gulfport Job Corps Center.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused severe damage to the school’s old structures, and the Job Corps Center was forced to use temporary structures until preservationists, alumni, and the federal government could come to an agreement about what form the restored center would take. In February of 2017, a deal was struck to rebuild the center and preserve two of the structure’s original walls.