Blackwell Job Corps

USDA Job Corps

The Blackwell Job Corps facility was given a reprieve from closure several weeks ago after the Trump Administration decided not to close the facility. But there's apparently more work to be done to keep it open.

In May, the Trump administration said they would close Blackwell and other facilities under USDA governance and move the program to the Department of Labor. A bipartisan backlash led to a reversal of that decision in June.

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Officials at the Blackwell Job Corps facility near Laona are hoping the public rallies to support keeping the facility open.

The Job Corps centers, help train 16-24 year olds in wildland firefighting, forestry, culinary arts, welding, and other trades. Many of the students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, while helping conservation efforts on public lands. Blackwell has operated in Forest county for 55 years.

Blackwell guidance counselor Lorie Almazan said the announcement came as a shock to students and staff...

Hilary Markin-Chequamegon-Nicolet NF USFS

Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16-24 improve the quality of their lives by empowering them to get jobs and become independent.

Blackwell opened as a Job Corps center in 1965 near Laona in Forest county. Since then, over 15,000 students have benefited from the federal scholarships offered through Blackwell Job Corps.

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The Nicolet College Foundation recently presented its 2017 Friends and Partners Award to the U.S. Forest Service Blackwell Job Corps.

The career-training organization received the honor for its work with the college to build a first-of-its-kind partnership to teach firefighting skills to Blackwell students.

The Blackwell facility is located near Laona.

The pilot program last year resulted in 17 individuals with  structural firefighter and hazardous materials training, each earning official Firefighter 1 status.

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Friday, the first graduates from a unique program at Blackwell Job Corps Center near Laona get their diplomas.

The graduation ceremony is for 16 Job corps students who have completed structural firefighting certification and have jobs with local fire departments.

The program was in cooperation with Nicolet College. Blackwell Center Director Richard Lassiter says the graduation is a first of its type...

Job Corps

A spokesperson for the Blackwell Jobs Corps Center near Laona says they have immediate openings for young people interested in a technical career, and the education is free of charge.

Guidance counselor Lorie Almazan says they can take up to 160 students...

"....we would like to provide an opportunity for young people between the ages of 16 and 24 to come out to the center, have a tour. The program allows them to earn their diploma or GED. Job training skills will help them when they graduate and go out into the work world..."

Dave Melancon-U.S. Forest Service

Monday the Blackwell Job Corps facility near Laona celebrated 50 years.

As part of the President Johnson's War On Poverty in the mid-1960's, Congress created the Job Corps, designed to provide young people with training needed for jobs. 50 years ago this week, the Job Corps facility opened in Forest county. The facility has 135 students ages 16-24 learning a variety of trades.

U.S. Forest Service

Students at the Blackwell Job Corps facility in Forest county have applied some classroom studies to real world skills.

Officials say a 40-foot wide gazebo currently under construction near the student dormitories is a legacy that will be shared by classmates many years into the future.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest spokesperson Hillary Markin says the building had several departments involved...

In August, four student firefighters from the Blackwell Job Corps Center near Laona were part of a multi-agency crew  dispatched to Washington to assist with wild land fires.
The 20- person  crew included  Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin DNR,  National Park Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs personnel.

One of the students is  Ja-Won Barnett. He's studying to be an emergency responder at Blackwell. He was on a crew that worked  four fires in three weeks. He says initially they were doing routine tasks, but the fire threat increased...

Four student firefighters from the Blackwell Job Corps Center near Laona are on their way to Oregon as part of a Wisconsin interagency firefighting crew.

The U.S. Forest Service oversees the Job Corps Center in Forest county. Forest Service spokesperson Hilary Markin says   the crew left Wisconsin  Monday traveling to Redmond, Oregon, where they will get their assignment....

Job Corps

The Blackwell Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is holding an open house August 15 at the facility in Laona to celebrate the program's 50th anniversary year.

Blackwell was launched in 1965 as part of the Equal Opportunity Employment Act. Blackwell emerged from the C.C.C. camps. The program has since become a part of the U.S. Forest Service, serving 160 students.  Job Corps offers  career development services to at-risk young women and men, ages 16 to 24. The Forest Service operates 28 Job Corps centers in 18 states.