Smoke Shack Roswell Job Corps


The picture you see is the North fence of the Roswell Job Corps. The fence surrounds the entire federally owned property currently being privately managed by COI and Del-Jen. Del-Jen or DJI provides service to the United States Government around the world and was formed back in 1977 by the  brothers Delane and Fred Jensen.

Job Corps offers career planning, on-the-job training, job placement, residential housing, food service, driver’s education, basic health and dental care, a bi-weekly basic living allowance and clothing allowance. Some centers offer childcare programs for single parents as well. The Job Corps graduates also get a cash payment of around one thousand dollars upon graduation and another bonus payment of $1000 if they hang on to their job for 6 months! Also an online Penn Foster High School Diploma can be earned.

In the foreground of the picture you see a little used basketball goal and the male dormitory. In the background is a group of students assembled  under the roof of the Smoke Shack (What is a smoking area doing at a place like the Job Corps which is supposed to help with smoking cessation? ) on this relatively rare rainy day in Roswell, New Mexico. The picture was taken around 8 am just before the morning classes commenced.

Sometimes people are a little grumpy in the morning and if you combine that with cigarette  smoking, it is easy to see how a fight or two might break out. I think the Roswell Job Corps is relatively peaceful compared to the ones in Cleveland and Detroit.

The Job Corps is an excellent place for young men and women who are not “traditional college types” or who come from low-income families. Some of the Job Corps students are there because of the terms of their probation or a judge order. Some parents, who are at wit’s end with their problem child, send their kids to Job Corps against their will or consent. Job Corps is NOT a for profit school like ITT Tech , Carrington College, Brown Mackie College, or AIU. They are a legitimate vocation/education option for parents who are trying to help their progeny become employable and live independently.

To rear a child well is among the more challenging tasks one can take on. The Job Corps may be a step towards helping parents find the correct career path for their troubled teen. Making the best choices as early as possible in life for your kid can be a true moment of impact. Sometimes it is just a decision here or there that completely turns a life around in a positive way! The graduation ceremony of the Roswell Job Corps is a quite moving and emotional ceremony, held at ENMU, with graduates giving carnations to the instructor or staff member that made the biggest difference and cared the most.

Many graduates find jobs in Roswell at Desert Sun Motors, Dean Baldwin Aircraft Painting,  as security guards at airport, Chaves county, Peachtree Village assisted living, and Applebee’s. One occasionally hears talk of the Job Corps being shut down or closing, but they rank very high among the nation’s 124 Job Corps in their graduates still being employed 6 months and one year after graduation! Southeastern NM is relatively poor with quite a bit of poverty. Closing the Job Corps would only exacerbate that issue


Smoke Shack Roswell Job Corps

44 comments on “Smoke Shack Roswell Job CorpsAdd yours →

  1. Fights happen everywhere not just at the job corps. My son just graduated from the Roswell job corps. They had a very nice ceremony at the performing arts Center at enmu. There were some very proud parents in attendance. Many were crying and hugging their kiddos! The kids gave flowers to their favorite teachers.
    Some graduates who were already working came all the way back just to be there. My old man abandoned me and my boy and we’ve had some really tough times. I will be forever grateful to the job corp for getting my boy a decent job.

    1. Speaking of sending flowers in Roswell, has anybody been overcharged by Lawrence Brothers grocery floral department for flower delivery?
      I had some flowers delivered to my girlfriend one day. The arrangement I chose was $24 plus an excessive delivery fee of 8 dollars which adds up to 32 bucks. When I checked credit card statement, the lady charged me 35 and change. I plan on contacting store manager to find out who ripped me off.

  2. We are concerned that our son who has recently come out as gay and will be bullied and beat up if we send him to the Job Corps. We have some friends from El Paso, Texas who sent their son to the Roswell Job Corps. The kid says there are quite a few gay kids enrolled there. If there are students who bully homosexuals at Job Corp, it must not be that common because our friend’s child has never said anything about it but he does say that the staff and teachers go out of their way to make everybody feel comfortable. We will check some more before we send ours that way, but right now we are leaning towards signing him up for Job Corps because it is free and will get him trained quickly so he can get a job and become responsible.

  3. I have heard that some kids do not enroll in job corps because they’re afraid of the math requirements. A teenager in Cleveland blogged that he is not going to sign up for the job corps because he was intimidated by the trigonometry course.
    The only trig that is used is in the building trades and it is not very hard. You can use your calculator and tangent to find angles. It is just applied trig, nothing too difficult or advanced.

  4. Job Corps despite its reputation in Cleveland, Detroit, and NYC is NOT a reform school, so technically you can NOT send your kid to Job Corps against their will. I do know that at some Job Corps parents with a problem child or a rebellious, trouble making kiddo can make an “arrangement” with Job Corps that is basically a 1 strike and you are out policy.

    Most Job Corps do not openly advertise that they will enroll a child against their will, but some will as along as they can get a strong written assurance from parents that parents will have to provide transportation and assistance in the event Job Corps decides to kick out or suspend their child. Also there have been instances of teenagers on probation being allowed to study a trade at Job Corps.

    I have heard from some that some young adults have enrolled at Job Corps under a judges order. Not sure if that is true or not.

  5. A friend worked as an instructor at the Roswell,nm job corps. He said the pay was ok but most of the kids were unmotivated and sometimes disruptive in the classroom. I think he quit sometime in September.

    A lot of people think job corps is directly managed by the department of labor. That is not quite true. COI out of Dallas along with deljen won the bidding and was offered a government contract by DOL. A woman named Lana Kite is the center director and is the sister of a lady named Pam who is the president/owner of COI( career opportunities inc.)

    Job Corps always has high turnover with their teachers and Lana and Amy have been replacing them with unqualified staff members without paying them overtime. My friend thought about filing a grievance with the DOL through del-Jen but decided to just move on rather than hassle with it.

    As a long time resident, I recognize the value of job corps to the community and do not want to see it run into the ground by a rogue center director.

    1. You mentioned Job Corps is supposed curtail or prohibit cigarette smoking. Part of its mission is to also help overweight and obese students to lose weight and lead healthier lifestyles. During intake, students are made aware of these goals.

    2. Lana Kite is an effective center director in El Paso Texas. Her discreet handling of frequent sexual misconduct is exemplary but only after she watched for awhile.

      1. Samantha Scott who worked as career counselor at Job Corps in Albuquerque NM would vehemently disagree. This whistleblower caught kids cheating on GED exams and not showing up to class but still “earning” their welding degrees. Was Kite center director at that time? If so why is she still allowed to show her face at any of the job corps?!?!?!?? Chris McKee wrote in more depth for KRQE. Read more of this Oregon Duck’s journalistic prowess regarding fraud and drug overdoses at this federally funded institution.

  6. My wife used to work at the Albuquerque Job Corps and worked for Kite I believe. Its kind of ironic that she says the teachers were only there to get paid.
    Lana tried to squeeze every last drop of work out of the instructors and staff when my wife was there so her and her sister could turn more of a profit for COI so the woman is talking out of both sides of her mouth because she really only cares whether or not Career Opportunities is profitable even if her employees are not getting a fair shake and having to work extra hours without getting paid! She was even asking unqualified employees to teach classes because there was such a high turnover among the teaching staff. Kite was also bad about not paying overtime even though the work was piling up.

    This was out of the Albquerque newspaper.
    “The one thing I heard loud and clear when I came here was communication,” Kite said. “One of the biggest things was miscommunication between students and staff.”
    There was tension because students thought the staff was there only to get paid, she said. The relationship improved after students realized staff members wanted to help them, Kite said.

    1. Lana Kite was exposed for “earning” well over 200K as executive for COI at the expense of the white trash and black punks that attend the McKinney Job Corps where fights, theft, and assault are common. Kite is living off taxpayer dollars while the students at the Job Corps her company manages are not finding jobs and living in parks and under bridges.

      1. I think you are being unfair to Kite. We are all “in it for the money”, so chill about her high salary. A cute gay man I knew named Brian in West Texas worked directly underneath her and said she was tough and sometimes harsh, but highly respected by the staff and the kids. She DESERVES every penny of her salary!

        1. Did you read what Korri Kezar of the Dallas Business Journal had to say about Lana Kite? You might be surprised. People who are in it for the money ONLY are smart enough to fake out the job corps students and staff and make it appear that they really care. They don’t care that their employees are being unfairly treated as long as they make enough money to gamble and drink at inn of the mountain gods in Ruidoso.

          At risk youth trust Mrs Kite with their future and their very livelihood to keep from being homeless or vagrant.

          1. Close friend of our family worked for Kite at Job Corps in Roswell for a few years. He quit because of the administrative director. Kite, the president, knew that many employees quit because of this disruptive person who had no friends and was not respected. Many employees quit and she just let it go on and on. The jerk is probably still there. Kite and her sister were negligent by not firing him. Not at all surprised that the McKinney job corps has fallen apart under her watch.

            1. The admin director was fired. I am not sure if it is the same one you are talking about. A lot of people get fired out there who do good work. The place is toxic and I would not recommend working there. Way too much stress and incompetent admins. who think they know it all and will not listen to their employees.Find a better place to work with not as much turnover.

              1. The admin director you are talking about was terminated because around 10 people quit because of his control freak attitude. I was lucky to not have to work with him but was always hearing stuff. There were a bunch of complaints before he was finally fired by center director. I heard the dude has been fired from many other places in Roswell. One of the ILA said he moved away from Roswell because he can not find a job.

      2. Noticed that the maintenance, janitorial, and groundskeeping staff of FLETC in Artesia,NM are striking against ONMI Corp of Irving,TX. Operating Engineers Local 953 of Albuquerque are representing the striking workers. The complaints are the usual unfair working conditions and low pay. OMNI is probably the same kid of Cold operation that does not care about anything other than profitability for the higher ups in the corporation, much like what you were talking about with the boss of COI in San Marcos, Texas.

        Custodial, maintenance, and groundskeeping personnel are categorized as unskilled and in this cruel world, the more replaceable you are, the more likely it is you will be exploited and treated unfairly in the work place

        1. FLETC spokeswoman Christa Thompson bailed out on the maintenance workers by choosing not to comment on the plight of the striking workers.

          Christa better comment as the striking employees of OMNI, who is paid by FLETC to pay and provide benefits to hard working Mexicans, have legitimate grievances against the unfair labor practices of OMNI.

          Put more simply, both Christa and OMNI are employed by FLETC! FLETC is trying to cut costs by using OMNI. The workers were theatened by OMNI when workers complained about low pay and unacceptable working conditions. Had FLETC been more responsible about the third party contractor they hired, they would not be suffering through all this bad publicity.

          Pay employees like Christa LESS to free up more money for the underpaid!

  7. I am looking for a Jason C. from Louisiana. I am 36 and went to North Texas Job Corps center in Mckinney Texas way back in 2001. Some great times and supportive people at this job corps near Dallas. I think they even had a child daycare/assistance for single parents. Jason was searching for himself in those days and I would like to know how he is doing. Also would like to know how Toomer is getting along.

  8. We know a kid that graduated from the Roswell job corps who got a job at krumland Toyota as a mechanic assistant. Job corps does a great job of giving disadvantaged youth a chance to succeed and gain valuable job skills that might keep them out of trouble

    1. “Is Job Corps worth it?” I know Mike’s story is just one account, but there is no doubt in my mind that Job Corps adds more positives to the community than negatives. A friend of the families attended the Westover Job Corps Center in Chicopee, Massachusetts and landed a job as a construction site supervisor in Austin, TX.
      The Job Corps in Massachusetts had zero tolerance for harassing gays and you were immediately kicked out or suspended if you were caught fighting. Transportation in and out of the center was great and they really helped out the single parents with their kids.

      1. I am tring to catch up with jermaine who was going to westover job corps. Not trying to mess with his personal life. Would like to know what the dude is up to. There was a bunch of people who hung with Malcolm Gittens who were tight. Thanks for your help.

      2. It’s too bad Freddie Leyva was not kicked out before stabbing 59-year-old Dwayne Alexander who was a counselor at the Los Angeles(Hollywood)Job Corps. Alexander,who died from the stab wound, was a well liked member of the staff, but it goes to show you that everyone has a breaking point if you are overly critical

  9. The more I learn about the job corps, the more I am moved by the invaluable service it provides to at risk or low income youth. The following piece from the Florida courier supports this viewpoint:

    job corps fights high unemployment wit free education. Education and employment are two critical issues, especially within the Black community, where African-American students are ranking lower than their counterparts in education and have the highest unemployment rate nationwide. While many are dropping out and others are struggling to go onto college, the Pittsburgh Job Corps program offers low-income youth an alternative to turning to “street life” to survive.

  10. Parents or single parents have yet another great incentive to attend job corps! Every dollar that you send to your child can be matched by 5 federal dollars. So if you want to send your kid $20, then job corps will send an extra one hundred dollars because job corps knows how hard it is for parents to go to school and take care of their children at same time!
    I found out about this from a friend who is enrolled at Flint Hills Job Corps Center in Kansas AND no I am not the famous actress Miriam Colon.
    Stan Finger of the Chicago Tribune wrote great article about this job corps located near Manhattan.

  11. Thanks to purchasing agent William Dawe of the job corps for his letter to editor imploring all to quit blaming others for their misfortunes. Dawe rightly attacks the inflated notion of victimization promulgated by liberals.

    Give your heart to Jesus Christ and all will be well. My epilepsy was cured not by marijuana but by complete surrender to the son of God.

    Just look at me. I was once addicted to pot and now I am addicted to Jesus Christ! The cops can not arrest me for that. All you meth heads need to do is fall in love with Jesus to get over your life threatening addiction.

    1. William Dawe bemoans how the RDR spews liberal rubbish despite the fact Roswell is predominantly very conservative if not far right. He has justifiable indignation for Obama who promises the world billions for the United States environmental improprieties even though the actions of India and China are much much more environmentally deleterious.

      1. William Dawe characterizes Sandra Smith’s arguments as convoluted because he does not understand them. He is correct to question Watchtower as source that merits any scholarly attention.
        Dawe, much like Sandra Smith, uses scripture to support what her heart hold’s dear and believes. Jehovah’s Witnesses started as a Bible student movement in the 1870s by Charles Taze Russell and has morphed into entity that is much better known for waking residents up on Saturday morning or leaving flyers attached to cars and front doors. Most religious types re-interpret the Bible to fit their own philosophy Mr Dawes, That’s what you do when you foist your opinion of right/wrong onto the community in your letters to the editor. You are in a more level headed mode than usual when you assert that people had to fight for members of the group to even have the privilege of consciously objecting.

        1. Pastor Adam Urquides, without ever stating he is a Jehovah’s Witness in his letter to editor of Roswell Daily Record, attacks William Dawe for inciting hate. Craig Abalos is the only Hispanic who understands the true undistorted JW doctrine. JW’s realize that the Trinity is absurd and not supported in biblical scripture. At least the International Bible Students attempt to interpret the Holy Bible objectively

          1. Hello, all.

            Just for the record, I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness, and I don’t think I ever wrote anything about that to the Roswell Daily Record. It’s possible there are two Craig Abalos’s living in Roswell, but I tend to think it was a misunderstanding that occurred in the heat of some hot letter writing.

            I am a pro-labor liberal, and I think highly of people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

            I have a website,, that I use for my writing and, possibly, for future activism.

            The primary problem I have with Mr. Dawe’s and Mr. Kopp is their quickness to equate anything that is pro-labor with communism.

            Communism is where the state owns the means of production, so to say labor movements are communist is either a sign of stupidity or, just as likely, malicious deceit.



            1. Craig, I appreciate you politely answering the unjust criticisms of your liberal vantage point. Your usage of the term stupidity indicates you are the prolific writer who called New Mexicans who won’t support legalization of marijuana STUPID.

              I agree with you, but you upset many with the harsh criticism of the NM intellect.

              1. Johnny,

                I have to watch my use of that word “stupid.” It’s usually said in the heat of the moment and usually causes more harm than good.

                Legalizing marijuana would be one of the smartest things NM could do right now. We need the money, desperately, and Colorado has shown that all of the horror stories we were told about legalization have not materialized, nor are they likely to.

                Keeping pot illegal makes it more likely that our young people will be exposed to harder drugs by unscrupulous dealers. That’s a reality. By legalizing it, we are protecting our young people in a very real way.

                I just need to figure out how to make that a more persuasive argument.

            2. Craig,

              I appreciate your nostalgic reflections of your college years and the hole in your life named Roxanne. Failed romances are normal and anybody who has not suffered temporary acute depression over a lost love has not lived. Ask Bette Middler.

              My ex also earns extreme six figures and gently reminds me she would be breadwinner if we still cohabitated. To think that me never proposing is why I am not living on easy street is devastating.

              The Roswell newspaper would be a soulless tribunal if not for your poignant contributions.

            3. Have you noticed that poets and activists frequently produce the least amount of income? Guys like Craig Abalos spend more time complaining about being poor and blaming the rich THAN earning money. Write a poem about that Craig.

              The tax burden has fallen on the rich long enough with poor people like you living off of ambitious working class! Use your brains to make your mark in life in a lucrative profession rather than perpetuating this entitlement class mentality where you believe government owes you a roof over your head, medical care and food!

              1. Abalos would love the columns written by DEREK THOMPSON of The Atlantic who points out that the tax burden has moved around randomly from the poor to the rich and to the middle class uniformly. Craig’s argument that it is not fair to tax the poor, because they can’t afford it, is rubbish. Like your article states, Abalos chose the bohemian lifestyle of an artist and writer which is often accompanied by low income types on the margin of being a pauper. You have to make the bed you sleep in Craig.

                1. I believe this guy Abalos would favor increasing minimum wage to help the brain dead high school flunk outs.
                  He should read the work DIANA FURCHTGOTT-ROTH who shows raising minimum wage would increase unemployment.

              2. Jim,

                There is more to life than money, and more to a man.

                The tax burden has been lightened on the rich, repeatedly, for well over forty years.

                It’s done nothing but stagnate the economy, consolidate wealth, and concentrate power.

                It is dangerous to have a small number of people with a great deal of power, and that is exactly what we now have in the USA under Trump.

                1. Thanks for replying Craig,
                  Had Hillary been elected, then we also would have had a small number of people with a great deal of power, so it gets down to ones ideology.

    2. William Dawe states he has held administrative, supervisory, and management positions while singing the praises of Kopp. He perceives himself as intelligent enough to excoriate Greece and Venezuela while never mentioning he worked in cesspool called Job Corps.

    1. Angelo,

      Are you saying Lana Kite does not let Job Corps employees call the sheriff, police, or any form of law enforcement? What do you mean by running amnesty? Do you mean they pardon serious offenses like rape, bullying, racist comments, LGBT discrimination without getting Police department involved?

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