Utah's two Job Corps centers are joining counterparts nationwide in boosting efforts to improve their image and increase female enrollment.

Recruiting women, age 16-21, isn't just difficult in Utah, but also nationwide, said Don Myrtle, Clearfield center director."Some are single parents, and we don't have a day care here to assist them," he said.

Female enrollment at both Utah centers, Clearfield and Weber Basin, is 386 out of 1,544 students.

Dynamic Science Inc., a private agency contracted with the U.S. Department of Labor, is responsible for recruiting youth into the Job Corps program in Utah. The company recently won awards for best female enrollment and best overall recruitment and job placement at the Job Corps regional conference in Kansas City.

Barbara Timper, Dynamic Science recruitment and placement project manager, said the Job Corps is responding to a challenge.

"Three years ago, the U.S. Congress charged the Job Corps to become a 50-50 (male to female ratio) program," she said. It is now about 75 percent male, 25 percent female at the Clearfield center."

Timper said her agency has intensified recruitment efforts by placing newspaper ads, sending personnel to appear on television and radio programs and working with high school and legal counselors.

"We have done everything you can think of. We want to broaden the public image of the Job Corps," she said.

She said the Corps places 87 percent of its graduating students, mostly in skilled labor trades such as construction, general labor and automotive.

Timper said students usually take six to nine months to complete a course, and they now can receive a high school diploma, a general equivalency diploma or college credits.

The state's 40 school districts signed an agreement this year making Job Corps an alternative referral for high school students.

Timper said there has not been 100 percent cooperation by the districts, but as the program's image improves, so will the cooperation.