U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Fights Trump Administration Closure of Blackwell Job Corps Center in Forest County

Blackwell has supported Wisconsin’s Northwoods economy with 54 good paying jobs and job training for disadvantaged youth since 1964

By - Jun 11th, 2019 10:10 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is continuing her fight to halt the Trump administration’s closure of the Blackwell Job Corps Center in Forest County that has supported Wisconsin’s Northwoods economy with 54 good paying jobs and job training for disadvantaged youth since 1964.

In today’s letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Senator Baldwin expressed strong opposition to the administration’s decision to close the 25 Civilian Conservation Centers (CCC) within the U.S. Forest Service, including the Blackwell Job Corps Center near Laona, Wisconsin.

Senator Baldwin writes, “When I travel around Wisconsin, I hear repeatedly about the need to skill up our nation’s workforce. I hear from employers who are turning away work, or are unable to compete for business because they can’t find the skilled workers needed to fill open jobs. I also hear from students who are anxious to work and start a career but are unable to get the training they need to secure employment. 

“The mission of the Forest Service Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers is to train eligible youth, ages 16 to 24, with educational, social and vocational skills, while assisting in the conservation of the Nation’s public natural resources. The majority of Forest Service Job Corps students come from low-income communities, both urban and rural, who are seeking pathways to prosperity. The Blackwell Job Corps Center is also important to our Northwoods’ community and rural economy because it provides good paying jobs for 54 workers.”

Last week, Senator Baldwin teamed up with a bipartisan group of Senators, led by Jon Tester (D-MT), to introduce 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 prohibit any federal government agency from making changes to agreements that operate Job Corps facilities—preventing them from privatization. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). In addition, Democrats and Republicans in both the Senate and House of Representatives called on Labor Secretary Acosta and USDA Secretary Perdue to reconsider the decision to permanently close over a third of Civilian Conservation Centers nationwide and end the program in its current form.

In today’s letter to the Trump administration, Baldwin writes, “Media reports indicate that the Trump Administration reversed course and decided not to close a Job Corps facility in Montana that was also slated for closure. For 55 years, the Blackwell Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center has helped expand economic opportunities and provide job training to young adults in rural Wisconsin. I urge you to reconsider your ill-timed proposal to close the Blackwell Job Corps Conservation Corps Center. And, I urge both of your Departments to ensure it remains open so it can continue to train the workforce Wisconsin employers desperately need.”

The full letter is available here.

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