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Tester Pushing For Job Corps Action This Week

Greeting on the road into the Anaconda Job Corps
Nick Mott
Montana Public Radio
Greeting on the road into the Anaconda Job Corps

Congressional action on the closure and transfer of 25 Forest Service Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers across the country, including two in Montana, could come by the end of the week. 

Democratic Senator Jon Tester announced today that he filed a bill that would stop the Job Corps rollbacks as an amendment to a larger national defense act Senate members will begin debating as soon as Wednesday and vote on by Friday.

"The President has decided to pull the plug on one of the most successful initiatives in rural America," Tester said in a video to the Trapper Creek Job Corps in Darby.

Tester introduced the bill earlier this month in the wake of the Department of Labor’s late May announcement that nine Job Corps would be shuttered and 16 would be transferred out of Forest Service hands, either to the US Department of Labor or private companies.

Those announcements included closing the Anaconda Job Corps, and transferring the Trapper Creek Job Corps in Darby, likely to private management. Together, the two corps employ more than 100 staffers and serve more than 700 students annually. The programs focus on skilled trade education for at-risk youth ages 16-24.

Republican Senator Steve Daines said earlier this month President Trump told him in a private conversation he’d reverse the Anaconda Job Corps closure. While students in the corps and local businesses celebrated, Tester’s staff says federal representatives they’ve communicated with have received no official instructions to change course.

The Job Corps rollbacks leave uncertainty for about 4,000 students and 1,100 federal employees across the country, as well as rural economies that rely on skilled labor and services that come from the program

Nick Mott is a reporter and podcast producer based in Livingston, Montana.
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