Tester, Boozman, Bipartisan Senate Colleagues Team Up to Protect Job Corps from Closure

Senators’ bipartisan bill will block Administration from removing funds from successful job training programs

(U.S. Senate)-Teaming up to protect the country’s Job Corps programs from closure, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wa.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) are introducing legislation today to prevent the removal of funds from these critical employment programs.

Today the Senators introduced legislation, the Job Corps Protection Act, that blocks the Administration from using federal government funds in 2019 or 2020 to close any Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers in the United States. The bill will also prohibit any federal government agency from making changes to agreements that operate Job Corps facilities-preventing them from privatization.

“Whether it is the businesses who rely on Job Corps or the students who graduate, we need everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, to make sure that we have Job Corps around for our next generation and the generations after,” Tester said. “Without important resources like Job Corps, we are making it harder than ever for young people in rural areas to access the job training they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

“Job training is often hard to come by in rural America. Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers fill the void and offer invaluable skills training in underserved areas,” Boozman said. “We should be looking for opportunities to expand workforce development programs in rural America as opposed to finding reasons to reduce them.”

“We must reverse the Trump Administration’s reckless decision to undercut Civilian Conservation Centers,” said Merkley. “In Oregon, these facilities not only make our communities safer by reducing the risk of wildfires, but also provide valuable job training for at-risk youth in rural areas. We should be supporting these centers, not jeopardizing public health and eliminating meaningful job opportunities by closing or privatizing them.”

“Montana’s CCC programs help create jobs and support our rural communities,” Daines said. “Not only do they help drive our local economy, they support young Montanans with invaluable training in important fields including wildland firefighting and the trades.”

“For decades, the Flatwoods Job Corps facility in Coeburn, Virginia has helped equip young Virginians with the skills needed to succeed in today’s changing economy,” said Sen. Warner. “Closing the door on this vital program would not only make it harder to expand economic opportunities in Southwest Virginia, it will make also make it harder for Virginia’s employers to find the kind of high-skilled talent the jobs of tomorrow will require.”

“Job training is at the core of preparing our next generation for good-paying jobs in Virginia and across the country. I’m worried about the Trump Administration’s decision to close nine Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers – including Flatwoods Job Corps in Coeburn, VA, a top performing Center that has a tremendous economic impact in Southwest Virginia. There’s agreement on both sides of the aisle that President Trump shouldn’t take funding away from these critical job training programs, and Congress can prevent him from doing so by passing our bill,” Kaine said.

“Closing the Fort Simcoe Civilian Conservation Center near Yakima and privatizing others is unacceptable. As we battle massive wildfires across Washington state, these centers play a key role in training wildfire fighters and protecting our public lands. We need more programs training Americans in rural areas for 21st century jobs, not less,” said Cantwell.

“These programs have a proven track record of helping young Oregonians get the job training they need to succeed while supporting essential management of our treasured public lands,” said Wyden. “Keeping Job Corps up and running for future generations shouldn’t be controversial. Congress should act to stop any efforts that undermine the program’s success.”

“The Blackwell Job Corps Center is so important to our Northwoods community by providing good paying jobs for 54 workers and job training to young adults. For 55 years, this civilian conservation center has helped expand economic opportunities in a rural Wisconsin and supported the U.S. Forest Service’s mission of maintaining the long-term health of Wisconsin’s forests,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m calling on the Trump Administration to immediately halt their decision to close this facility and others, and I’m joining my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce new legislation that will prevent further changes to the program.”

The Trump Administration announced last month that it would close nine Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers across the country. In that same announcement, the Administration unveiled a plan to effectively privatize the program by transferring 16 Job Corps centers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Job Corps are located in numerous states across the country. People ages 16-24 are eligible to voluntarily enroll in Job Corps for hands-on job training. Many businesses partner with local Job Corps to meet their need for high-skilled labor.

Last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation that invested $1.7 billion in Job Corps programs across the country.