The Trump Administration recently announced it was closing down Blackwell Job Corps Center, near Laona, in Forest county, and eight other Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers across the country.
The Trump Administration unveiled a plan to effectively privatize the program by transferring 16 Job Corps from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Department of Labor. The remaining Job Corps programs will be run by a privately-held companies working for the Labor Department.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is calling on the Trump Administration to immediately halt their decision to close the Blackwell facility and others, and is joining her colleagues in a bipartisan manner to introduce new measures to prevent further changes.
Baldwin says the closure will cost 54 jobs locally, plus the core job training needed today..
"With regard to the 25 that are run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it's really a very specific focus on supporting the U.S. Forest Service's mission...."
Baldwin says the decision was made with virtually no input from the local communities and Congress. Baldwin says the firefighting and other job training is needed today and the closure is a blow...
"...So in addition to training the high-skilled workforce we need to attend to our public lands and in particular our forests, the Civilian Conservation Centers have been used to train for disaster response. That not only includes wildfires but also response to events like hurricanes in coastal communities...."
Senator Baldwin says the members of Congress opposed to the move have written the cabinet secretaries voicing their opposition to the closures of a third of the centers. Baldwin says they've introduced legislation to block the closures by saying the Administration can't use the money set aside for the centers to be used to close them.