Clearfield Job Corps to lose 534 slots, not 400

Jan 11 2013 - 11:26pm

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CLEARFIELD -- A cut in federal spending for the Clearfield Job Corps will be even worse than initially planned.

Elizabeth Todd, a Department of Labor spokesperson, confirmed the federal government has increased the number of students it will cut at the Davis County jobs corps from an original estimate of 400 announced on Wednesday to 534.

The local facility currently has 1,057 students, so the cutback will take more than half of the student population.

The cut, being enacted by the Job Employment Administration, is termed temporary and being carried out at seven job corps centers in the U.S., according to Todd. She said the cut will be in place until June of this year. The JEA is a division of the Department of Labor.

Todd said federal officials looked at a number of factors, including student population, how many students came from out of state, transportation costs and other factors before announcing the cuts.

The Clearfield facility is managed by Management & Training Corporation in Centerville and is one of 18 MTC-operated centers and three subcontract centers in the U.S. MTC contracts with the Department of Labor to operate the centers.

Issa Arnita, director of Corporate Communications for the Management & Training Corporation, said the additional cuts caught local officials off guard.

"We couldn't have been more surprised when we received the news. That's . . a 50 percent reduction in the number of students who can attend the center," Arnita said.

He said officials have proposed some alternative cost-saving strategies to the DOL, which don't include the cuts.

The potential cuts would impact more than students. There are currently 450 people employed at the training center and cuts would have to be made among staff as well, Arnita said.

"This will not only affect disadvantaged youth and young adults, it will have a devastating impact on the dedicated and talented staff at the center. It will also have a domino effect on the local economy as people lose their jobs in a very fragile economy." Arnita said.

The local facility is considered one of the best in the nation, according to Arnita, who pointed to graduation rates and the average national starting wage for graduates in comparison to other jobs corps centers.

Of 125 job centers in the U.S, the local facility ranked No. 17 in awarding industry-recognized credentials and No. 18 in the number of GEDs/high school diplomas awarded.

MTC is the largest Job Corps contractor for the DOL. The Utah-based company operates centers in 15 states and claims to train as many as 16,000 students annually at its Job Corps facilities. Arnita said the potential cuts could also impact three other MTC facilities in the U.S.

The Job Corps provides training to economically disadvantaged youth in a number of areas, including composites, computer technology, office administration, network cabling and welding.

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