NEW: Langevin Trying to Reverse Decision on Exeter Job Corps
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
But that won’t matter if the center isn’t allowed to enroll new students, as will be the case if the U.S. Department of Labor doesn’t change its plan to suspend enrollment at Job Corp centers throughout the country.
In a letter sent to the Department of Labor, Congressman Jim Langevin implored for the federally-funded organization to reconsider its decision.
“[It] will not only be detrimental to students, it will have a significant negative impact on staff and local economies,” Langevin wrote in a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris last week. “Many Centers across the country will be forced to lay-off a significant portion of their staffs, and this is far from what these communities need as they are still struggling to recover from unprecedented unemployment and economic instability.”
Exeter is just one of the many Job Corps centers nationwide that were recently told they would no longer be able to register new students. Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program run by the Department of Labor for individuals between the ages of 16-24 that want to pursue career, technical and academic training.
The Exeter center has been heralded as one of the best examples of success as its culinary department made headlines statewide last year for producing Rhode Island’s first team to compete at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's nationwide cooking competition.
Langevin asked the Department of Labor to overcome the 2012 program year’s budget shortfall by working with “center directors and operators to develop a reasonable, alternative cost savings plan” instead of implementing the registration freeze.
“There should be no higher priority of policymakers and this Administration than providing quality job opportunities for Rhode Islanders and all Americans,” Langevin said. “Particularly in Rhode Island, we know that the disconnect between the skills our workers are learning and the qualifications employers need has held back our economic recovery. The Job Corps initiative’s ability to collaborate with industries to prepare young people for available jobs is an important part of our efforts to address this challenge. This is not the time to be cutting back on the opportunities for our workforce to benefit from the program.”