Tester Statement on Administration’s Job Corps Reversal

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester issued the following statement applauding USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement that—after significant pushback from Tester and other members of Congress—the Administration is reversing its reckless, short-sighted decision to close or privatize all 25 Forest Service-run Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers. These job training centers operate in 17 national forests and grasslands across 16 states—including Montana—and train over 4,000 young adults a year, many of whom are at-risk youth from low-income, rural communities. Tester was the first member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to come out against the closures and call on the Administration to reverse its decision.

“Suddenly, without any real reason or justification, the President pulled the plug on one of the most successful initiatives in rural America and my office was flooded with stories and objections from Montanans. That’s why I fought so hard to reverse this decision and today I’m extremely proud to have helped make their voices heard. But too often this Administration acts without regard for the real-world consequences of their decisions—consequences overwhelmingly suffered by folks in rural America. I’ll continue to fight for the hardworking Montanans and businesses that rely on Job Corps centers like Trapper Creek and Anaconda, so we can make sure they’re around for future generations.”

Tester has been the most vocal critic of the Administration’s proposal, which would have closed nine of these Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers—including one in Anaconda—while transferring and likely privatize the other 16—including Trapper Creek in Darby.

  • Hours after the Administration’s announcement on May 24, Tester sent a letter to both USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta condemning the decision.
  • On May 30, Tester held a press call with Mike Robbins, a Butte native and co-owner of Montana Precision Products, and Zoe Hough, a 2018 Anaconda Job Corps graduate, who gave personal accounts about the importance of these programs.
  • Tester also created a portal on his website where Montana employers and workers could submit their personal Job Corps stories.
  • On June 4, Tester took to the Senate Floor to demand action and introduce legislation to stop the proposal and provide much needed certainty to these critical job training programs.
  • Earlier this week, Tester filed his Job Corps bill as an amendment to a larger legislative package—the National Defense Authorization Act—that the Senate plans to vote on later this week.