The CLEVELAND JOB CORPS, founded in 1965, was one of over 100 job-training programs created by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964; it produced the first program graduates in the country. In two decades, the Cleveland Job Corps trained over 12,000, mostly African American women from out of state. The Job Corps recruited high school dropouts ages 16-21 and sent them to a residential center to obtain a high school equivalency degree, if necessary, and work skills. Because of the national scope, applicants were often sent far from home. Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, an African American women's service organization, sponsored and operated the Cleveland program under contract from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The group maintained a house at 1588 Ansel Rd. for nearly 400 girls until 1971, when it relocated to the Tudor Arms Hotel at E. 107th and Carnegie. Only women lived at the facility, but men were accepted into the program after 1976. Cleveland Job Corps trained participants for business, clerical, and service occupations. Through a cooperative program with the Brotherhood of Railway & Airline Clerks, the center guaranteed job placement.
Founded as part of the War on Poverty, the local Job Corps has withstood budget cuts and proposed reorganizations since the Nixon era. The Nixon administration, however, closed 57 centers (many in rural areas) and hoped to shift the remaining ones to state and local control, to be financed through federal revenue-sharing. Dr. Zelma Watson (Mrs. CLAYBORNE) GEORGE, Cleveland Corps director (1966-74), argued that any change would endanger the program's effectiveness; she won her point and the Cleveland office survived. In 1989 the program still trained female residents and male and female commuters, in computer entry and welding, in addition to the fields mentioned above. Participants received such additional benefits as counseling and health care. The Cleveland Job Corps Center in the 1990s participated in a program with CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE wherein students could earn college credit. In Apr. 1995, the U.S. Dept. of Labor changed operatorship from Alpha Kappa Alpha to that of Management & Training Corp., a Utah-based firm. In 1995 the Cleveland Job Corps Center was located at 10660 Carnegie and had 470 students.