Programs like the Job Corps help students master workplace skills.
Programs like the Job Corps help students master workplace skills.

The Job Corps is a free education and training program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps low-income young people -- age 16 to 24 -- earn a high school diploma or a GED. The organization also helps them find employment and keep their jobs. Similar programs include AmeriCorps, World Teach, the Peace Corps and the Student Conservation Association. These organizations help participants learn the skills they need to be successful workers.

AmeriCorps: National Civilian Community Corps

The National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), sponsored by AmeriCorps, is a full-time work program for young adults -- ages 18 to 24 rather than 16 to 24. The NCCC stresses community service projects, such as filling sandbags to reduce the impact of natural disasters, making facilities handicap accessible and rehabilitating low-income housing. Members are assigned to one of five campuses -- Denver, CO; Sacramento, CA; Baltimore, MD; Vicksburg, MS; and Vinton, IA -- but they participate in nationwide community service projects. NCCC members serve for 10 months with a team of approximately 10 to 12 individuals. They receive approximately $4,000 during the 10-month period plus housing, meals and limited medical benefits. Some participants are eligible to receive an additional $400 per month for childcare.

World Teach

World Teach, sponsored by host countries, works with governments in developing countries to provide volunteer teachers. World Teach isn't funded by the U.S. government. World Teach focuses on global teaching jobs rather than a wider range of U.S. employment opportunities. Full-time participants must have a bachelor's degree, be fluent in English and commit to a 12-month assignment that includes one month of in-country training. Those without a bachelor's degree -- who are at least 18 years of age -- can participate in short-term summer teaching programs.

Peace Corps

The Peace Corps is a U.S. government-funded organization that assigns volunteers to need-based areas around the world. Peace Corps workers learn skills, or apply skills they've already learned, in areas such as agriculture, youth, education, the environment, economic development and health. Participants don't receive a salary, but they do receive a housing and living stipend that enables them to live as the locals do. Eligible volunteers receive school loan deferments and cancellation benefits for government-issued college financial aid. They also receive two vacation days per month to tour local sites or visit neighboring countries.

The Student Conservation Association

The Student Conservation Association has programs for high school students, college students and graduates. It focuses on environmentally-friendly career opportunities and professional internships. All jobs and internships are assigned within the U.S., Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba or other U.S. territories. High school students -- ages 15 to 19 -- participate during the summer and obtain outdoor skills certiļ¬cations and training in wilderness medicine and outdoor education. Residential and internship assignments for adults -- who must have a high school diploma or a GED -- last from eight weeks to 12 months. Participants must work a 40-hour week to obtain a living and housing stipend. In some cases, a car is required, but participants receive a stipend to offset the cost of traveling to and from their work site.