I worked as an instructor for a US Job Corps facility, teaching high-school dropouts how to use basic office software so they could have a somewhat improved chance of landing a job and supporting themselves. Some of them ultimately did.
The Job Corps is a fascinating government program that’s funded by the US Department of Labor and (usually) delivered by private corporations that make my skin crawl, like Management & Training Corporation, which ran the Job Corps facility I worked at for a year. MTC is the second-largest provider of private prison facilities in the US, which is the part that makes my skin crawl. Most residential Job Corps facilities are basically like minimum security prisons built around a vocational training program, so it makes sense that a company like MTC would provide both services.
I grew up thinking that you can bootstrap yourself out of any situation; that it’s just a matter of applying enough willpower and intelligence and self-control.
That part of my worldview got definitively reversed when I met an adult crack baby at the Job Corps job.
Her mother was a heavy drug user during pregnancy, and I’m pretty sure her early home life was very very bad. I’ve actually never met somebody who was that cognitively impaired because of their upbringing. Every single learning task was monumental for her. And at the same time, she was one of the most courageous and grateful people I’ve ever met.
She knew that she was playing life on one of the higher difficulty settings, and that the only thing she could really do is keep her chin up and keep trying. It was freaking inspiring to see her do that day after day, often with grace beyond what I can muster during my best moments.
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Talk to you soon,