Bar­letta: Stu­dent level will not be slashed at Job Corps cen­ter

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE -

A pro­posed cut in the fed­eral Job Corps pro­gram was re­scinded, ac­cord­ing to U.S. Rep. Lou Bar­letta.

The U.S. Depart­ment of La­bor no­ti­fied Bar­letta, R-11, Ha­zle­ton, that it would re­verse the cuts within hours of re­ceiv­ing a let­ter that was co-signed by more than 100 mem­bers of Congress from both par­ties.

Bar­letta, the Repub­li­can co-chair of the Job Corps Cau­cus, said the num­ber of stu­dents in the Job Corps pro­gram was to be re­duced by 12 per­cent.

In the let­ter, the law­mak­ers pointed out that an ad­di­tional $5.5 mil­lion was added to a $1.58 bil­lion ap­pro­pri­a­tion for Job Corps to pay for 38,194 stu­dent train­ing slots.

Egan Re­ich, a spokesman for the Depart­ment of La­bor for the Job Corps pro­gram, con­firmed the re­duc­tion was re­scinded.

The let­ter ex­pressed con­cer ns over a re­cently an­nounced plan to re­duce Job Corps stu­dent ca­pac­ity to 33,532 to­tal stu­dents in 2017. This amounted to a re­duc­tion of 4,662 train­ing slots, de­spite the prog ram re­ceiv­ing that 1 per­cent fund­ing in­crease in the Con­sol­i­dated Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Act of 2017.

“We are alar med that af­ter in­for ming Congress that no cuts would be nec­es­sary, the agency is now plan­ning to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce ser­vices to our con­stituents,” the

let­ter states. “Given the sim­i­lar­ity to the 2012 en­roll­ment freeze and ca­pac­ity re­duc­tions that re­sulted from the agency’ s fi­nan­cial mis man­age­ment of Job Corps’ bud­get, we are grave ly con­cerned.”

A $60 mil­lion short­fall in the De par tment of La­bor bud­get caused a freeze on ad­mit­ting new stu­dents to the Key­stone Job Corps Cen­ter in Drums from Jan­uary to May 2013 and re­sulted in a per­ma­nent re­duc­tion from 600 to 471 stu­dents.

“Our ex­pec­ta­tions based on the agency’s bud­get doc­u­ments is that the re­sources this Congress pro­vided should be suf­fi­cient to main­tain the slot ca­pac­ity of 38,194 that the agency pro­jected,” the let­ter con­tin­ues.

The law­mak­ers ask the Depart­ment of La­bor to re­ex­am­ine the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the re­duc­tion in Job Corps ca­pac­ity and to pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion that sup­ports the de­ci­sion to their of­fices.

In a news re­lease, Bar­letta said Job Corps is one of the most im­por­tant pro­grams that en­cour­age young adults to suc­ceed and to lear n the value of civic duty.

“I am very pleased the DOL now un­der­stands the im­por­tance of this pro­gram,” he said.

Job Corps’ part­ner­ships with lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and busi­nesses have helped to foster a safe and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment while ben­e­fit­ting both stu­dents and the com- mu­nity, Bar­letta said.

“When I was a mayor (of Ha­zle­ton), I met the stu­dents from the Key­stone Job Corps Cen­ter and wit­nessed the work they did for our com­mu­nity ,” he said in the re­lease .“They helped to build the side­walks around City Hall and de­signed the trash re­cep­ta­cles dur­ing the down­town beau­ti­fi­ca­tion project. I’ve also had nu­mer­ous Job Corps stu­dents in­ter n in my Ha­zle­ton district of­fice. Job Corps al­lows young adults to get in­volved in our com­mu­nity, which ben­e­fits ev­ery­one. For 50 years the pro­gram has em pow­ered the youth of Amer­ica.”

The Job Corps pro­gram was en­acted as part of the Eco­nomic Op­por­tu­nity Act of 1964 and most re­cently reau­tho­rized in 2014 as part of the Work­force In­no­va­tion and Op­por­tu­nity Act. That bill con­tained pro­vi­sions sim­i­lar to Bar­letta’s H.R. 497, Amer­ica Works Act, to en­cour­age states and lo­cal­i­ties to pri­or­i­tize fed­eral spend­ing on ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing.

Job Corps is de­signed to pro­vide young peo­ple with the skills nec­es­sary to ob­tain and hold jobs, en­ter the ar med forces, or en­roll in con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion. The 124,000 Job Corps cen­ters across the coun­try serve more than 60,000 par tici - pants, who must be ages 16 to 24, low in­come, and fac­ing bar­ri­ers to em­ploy­ment and ed­u­ca­tion.

STAN­DARD-SPEAKER FILE

Key­stone Job Corps Cen­ter’s then-newly elected stu­dent gov­ern­ment pres­i­dent, Richette Wal­ton, spoke with U.S. Rep. Lou Bar­letta in his Wash­ing­ton, D.C., of­fice in March 2016. Bar­letta, now Repub­li­can co-chair of the Job Corps Cau­cus, said Mon­day a pro­posed fund­ing cut had been re­scinded and Job Corps lev­els would re­main in­tact.

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