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USDA Marks 50th Anniversary of the Job Corps

Daniel Stevenson, carpentry student of the Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center shows Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service a map he created of the 28 Job Corps Centers in the United States at the 50th Anniversary of the Job Corp Civilian Conservation Centers celebration at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, Wed. Sept. 17, 2014. The U.S. Forest Service operates the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Corps, the Nation’s largest residential, educational and career technical training program for young Americans. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.

Daniel Stevenson, carpentry student of the Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center shows Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service a map he created of the 28 Job Corps Centers in the United States at the 50th Anniversary of the Job Corp Civilian Conservation Centers celebration at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, Wed. Sept. 17, 2014. The U.S. Forest Service operates the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Corps, the Nation’s largest residential, educational and career technical training program for young Americans. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Economic Opportunity Act.  This Act, part of the government effort to wipe out poverty, created the Job Corps program, which has had a positive effect on countless young lives, giving them a chance to break multi-generational cycles of poverty, get an education, and find jobs in the federal and private sectors, and in the military.  The U.S. Forest Service works closely with the Department of Labor to operate Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (Job Corps CCCs) around the country.

Last week, dignitaries including Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, and Tina Terrell, Forest Service National Director of the Job Corps, along with colleagues from the Department of Labor, came together in Washington at USDA’s Whitten Building to mark the anniversary.

As Chief of Staff for Natural Resources and Environment here at USDA, I am a passionate advocate for this program. Not only does it change families, it allows students to practice conservation on public lands and it also creates a trained group of firefighters to battle wildfire. In the previous two fiscal years, Job Corps CCC students accomplished more than 500,000 hours of service work on public lands. This year, we connected nearly 1,500 of our Job Corps students to training opportunities as part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).

In addition to work on public lands, Job Corps CCC students also work on projects that contribute to their local community. During the anniversary event, Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer, who grew up on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, spoke of the profound difference that was made when one of America’s first Job Corps centers came to his reservation. “We learned a lot, and it added to the diversity of our community.” He talked about how the Center and others like it produced success and gave students hope for the future.

Chief Tidwell thanked everyone, but especially the students, past and present. He acknowledged the partnership forged with the U.S. Department of Labor and commented that during the summer of 1964 passage of the Economic Opportunity Act, the Wilderness Act and the Civil Rights Act made history in America.  As important as the last 50 years have been, the Chief said, this is “a moment in history, a time to reflect and celebrate, but also a time to dream of what is next.”

National Director Tina Terrell, born in Philadelphia, said that the Job Corps allows students access to the path she took, going from a life where all she knew about trees was “that they were in my back yard” to a fulfilling career with the Forest Service. “The future is up to you,” she said, “Culinary arts, Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, or an avenue for you if you want to work in the Forest Service.”

She said it best: “After 50 years, it is all about love of nature, love of the land, and helping young folks. Fifty years down, and now on to the next 50.”

7 Responses to “USDA Marks 50th Anniversary of the Job Corps”

  1. Daniel Stevenson says:

    just so you know i attend harpers ferry job corps not collbran but at least you got my name right

  2. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    Hi Daniel – we apologize for the error. We’ve corrected the photo caption. Thank you for letting us know.

  3. Jimmy Mohler says:

    Congrats on 50 years of important work. Proud to have my niece Tina as instructor to Job Corps students for nearly two decades! Launching the next 50! GO

  4. daniel stevenson says:

    thank you for correcting it ben

  5. Betty Lindsay says:

    This is a great program. Is it still available in Maryland near Washington DC? My children were in it when they were young. I wanted to recommend it to some of my great neices and nephews.

  6. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    @Betty: Thank you for your very good question. And thank you for introducing your family to the benefits of Job Corps. The Forest Service has 28 Job Corps Centers to train eligible young people with educational, social and vocational skills while assisting in the conservation of the nation’s public natural resources. The Forest Service-managed Job Corps Centers near Washington, D.C., are in Coeburn, Virginia, (Flatwoods) and in the Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The Forest Service sites are part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s resource of 128 Job Corps Centers across the country. Encourage your nieces and nephews to check out the Job Corps recruitment site, which includes an eligibility quiz, videos of Job Corps students and information for parents. JobCorps.gov also has a host of information for young adults, parents and business partners as well as a map of all center locations. There are two locations in Maryland.

  7. Jennifer Sutton says:

    Can ypou send me any flyers or pamplets you may have regarding any type of work
    Thank you
    J Sutton

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