Brigadier General (Ret.) Billy Cooper serves as executive director of the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Academy in northwest Kentucky. One of the largest of Job Corps' 122 centers nationwide, the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Academy serves more than 3,500 students each year, offering vocational training in more than 20 trades. Over the last 40 years, Job Corps has built its reputation as the nation's largest and most successful residential and educational workforce training program for economically disadvantaged youth, ages 16 to 24. Funded by Congress and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, this voluntary program serves nearly 65,000 young Americans every year and has trained and educated more than two million young people since the first Job Corps center opened in 1965. Billy Cooper earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education Administration from Cameron University in Oklahoma, and a Master's degree in Education Administration from Georgia State University in Atlanta. A career Army officer, Gen. Cooper has served in Vietnam, Germany, the Persian Gulf, and the Horn of Africa. A graduate of the National War College, Gen. Cooper became a Senior Operations Officer and later Assistant Deputy Director of Operations on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. He retired from active Army service in 2001 with awards and decorations that include the Defense Superior Service Medal, a Bronze Star, and a Meritorious Service Medal among many others. Immediately following his retirement, Gen. Cooper served as Director of the Cleveland Job Corps Center before assuming his current position in 2003.