Last Friday, I had the opportunity to see first hand how the Forest Service Job Corps Program changes lives. The motto of the Centennial Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center (JCCCC) is “Creating brighter futures one individual at a time” and this motto is applicable to all 28 JCCCCs. My day at Centennial began with a tour of the center to observe many of the vocational trades that are being taught at our centers.
This was followed by a groundbreaking for a ”People’s Garden,” part of an international effort where our employees create sustainable gardens at every USDA facility. The food produced in this garden will provide both Job Corps students and the local community with fresh, nutritious produce.
A “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” luncheon featuring food from local agriculture producers, including lamb, trout, and beef, was next on the agenda. Honoring Secretary Vilsack’s vision, Centennial Culinary Arts students created a fabulous luncheon composed of food produced in Idaho. In preparation for the luncheon, our students visited local producers so that they appreciate the nation’s vital agricultural resources, strengthening connections with the local agricultural community. The food was absolutely delicious and I sampled a unique dessert of Ice Cream Potatoes!
Next was a program in which I unveiled Job Corps’ new green curriculum and new interagency partnership between Forest Service JCCCCs and other USDA agencies. The new curriculum emphasizes the integration of green skills into traditional and new trades.
Our JCCCCs are perfectly positioned to lead the country in developing an effective green jobs program and USDA now is taking steps to position our JCCCCs as a foundation of America’s Green Job Corps! The new interagency partnership will expand job training, internship and career opportunities for Job Corps students.
Centennial, thank you for your warm welcome Kudos to the Forest Service Job Corps Program. It was an honor!
By Harris Sherman, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment
People’s Garden Groundbreaking L to R: Carl Powell, Business Community Liaison, Centennial JCCCC, Harv Forsgren, Regional Forester, Intermountain Region, Larry Dawson, Director, Forest Service Job Corps , Michael Rolfe, President, Student Government Association, Centennial JCCCC, Meryl L.R. Harrell. Special Assistant to the Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment, USDA, Harris Sherman, Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment, USDA, Safiya Samman, Director, Conservation Education, USDA Forest Service
Sign features the design and theme of the event–Forest Service Job Corps and USDA: Training America’s Youth for the New Green Economy