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
This center first opened in 1998 as the Memphis Job Corps Center. In 2006, the center’s name was changed to honor Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks, a leader of the civil rights movement and resident of Memphis, Tennessee.