Tester Pushes Administration to Reopen Job Corps Centers for In-Person Activities

Senator has been Montana’s leading defender of Job Corps Centers, passing legislation to prevent their closure in 2019

As an increasing number of Montanans are vaccinated and Montana’s economy reopens thanks to the recently passed American Rescue Plan, U.S. Senator Jon Tester pushed Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to issue guidance on resuming in-person activities at Job Corps Centers. Montana’s two Job Corps Centers in Darby and Anaconda awaiting that guidance, leaving hundreds of young Montanans in limbo.

“Job Corps centers are critical components to communities across the nation, and the two centers in Montana are no different,” wrote Tester. “Last year, the outbreak of the public health emergency in March forced nearly all on-campus activities to shut down abruptly and the ongoing pandemic continues to drastically impact the operation of Job Corps. While I am encouraged that the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a phased reopening in October, I am alarmed that Job Corps centers are still awaiting guidance from the Department about moving ahead with resumption of in-person activities.”

Tester continued: “The Trapper Creek Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center and the Anaconda Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center (CCC) provide hundreds of Montana youth with practical skills, service learning opportunities, and career and technical education…I urge DOL to issue updated guidance for Job Corps operations in order to expedite students’ return to these important programs and to ensure that another class of participants does not miss out on the opportunities that impacted so many students last year.”

Job Corps Civilian Conservation Corps 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, providing critical skills to help them succeed in a 21st century economy.

Tester has been Montana’s leading champion defending the Trapper Creek and Anaconda Job Corps Centers. In 2019, when the Trump Administration attempted to close or privatize the centers, Tester led the fight to reverse the decision. After sustained pressure from Tester, the Administration caved and kept the centers open, but Tester pushed legislation through Congress and into law to protect the centers moving forward.

Read Tester’s full letter to Secretaries Walsh and Vilsack HERE.