Job Corps turns 50 8/19/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Job Corps turns 50

By Rita Howell

Jackson State University political science professor Leslie Burl McLemore will be the speaker today at a program at the Finch-Henry Job Corps Center to kick off a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the nationwide Job Corps program.

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 An assembly at 10 a.m. in the center’s gymnasium will feature an address by McLemore, who was the founding director of the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy at Jackson State University.  

Started in 1964 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, the Job Corps program provides career technical training and education for low-income young people ages 16 through 24.  Since opening the first of what would become 125 centers, the program has trained more than 2.7 million young people.

Celebration events at Finch-Henry later this week include student community service assignments, hosting former graduates, balloon launching, open house and the special Commencement Ceremony at the Batesville Civic Center at 2 p.m. on August 22. U.S. Senator Roger Wicker will be the speaker.

The speaker for today’s assembly is a native of Walls and received his B.A. degree from Rust College. He received his M.A. degree in political science from Atlanta University and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts. He has done post-doctoral work at the Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University. 

A veteran of the Southern Civil Rights movement, he was a founding member and served as vice chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964.

 He is a president of the Jackson Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America, a group currently mentoring African American males in ten different public schools in Jackson. 

He is married to attorney Betty Mallett and they are parents of one son, Leslie II, a recent graduate of the North Carolina Central University Law School.