For youth interested in a career in engineering, science, a medical field, social services, business or computer sciences, a degree from the Community College of Allegheny County might be an attractive option.

But earning a degree for free through the Job Corps CCAC scholarship program is a downright no-brainer.

Each semester, Job Corps, a program of the U.S. Department of Labor that offers free job training to underserved populations, gives around 200 scholarships to Allegheny County residents between the ages of 18 and 24.

The scholarships include tuition (for a one- or two-year program), books, clothing, a weekly bus pass, room and board at Job Corps if needed, a monthly stipend and a $1,200 cash bonus upon degree completion.

Mark Snyder, project coordinator for Job Corps Admissions, said he is accepting applications until Oct. 31 for students who want to start taking classes in January.

Although there are income requirements, Snyder said they are flexible and relative to each individual’s income and expenses. Even if students live at home, Job Corps only counts the student’s income, not their parent’s.

In order to be eligible, students must have a high school diploma or GED. Job Corps will only sponsor students who enroll in certain areas of study, and students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

“Job Corps sponsors programs where there are good job markets,” Snyder said of the 20-year-old program.

Once enrolled in the program students go through “Career Preparation,” which is essentially an orientation to prepare the students for college classes and their future careers. At the orientation, JC staff ensures students are enrolled for their classes.

Job Corps also requires that students pass a drug and alcohol test, as well as a physical.

“Our staff kind of watch out for the students,” Snyder said. “If students are struggling, the Job Corps counselor help hook them up with tutors.”

Those interested in applying can stop by the Job Corps office near the cafeteria on the Allegheny CCAC campus, or call Snyder at 412-471-6123.