(UNEDITED)Job Corps is a place where good ideas come together. That is why my recent visit with approximately 300 young people at a USDA Job Corps Center in Idaho was so encouraging. In Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers, there is rare alignment of real life solutions to the challenges of youth unemployment, an uncertain economy, and the nation's need for a greener, energy-efficient future. Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers work for young people and for America.
The USDA Forest Service runs the nation's Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers: like all Job Corps Centers, the Civilian Conservation Centers train economically-challenged young people for meaningful careers.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Civilian Conservation Centers will place a new emphasis on green jobs, such as natural resources work, and the greening of traditional trades, such as construction and electrical work.
The Civilian Conservation Centers will make this work through a new green curriculum that gears students for greener applications of new skills. Graduates will know how to wire buildings for maximum energy efficiency and build energy-efficient homes. They will know how to build renewable energy facilities and improve landscapes stressed by climate change. Job Corps-trained young people will revitalize local economies across America. They will provide a boost to the nation's goals of energy independence
The USDA Forest Service has a 45-year history with Job Corps. Today's Civilian Conservation Centers prepare more than 6,000 young people at a time in 28 centers around the country for their own new direction, a place in America's growing green-collar
economy and a path out of poverty.
I am convinced all of us will benefit from the entry of thousands of skilled young people into an economy that needs to re-adjust its relationship to the environment and grow in a green direction. The success of Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers' new direction should encourage us all.
Weber Basin Job Corps is located in Ogden, near the Unita-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Weber Basin Job Corps serves 224 students.
USDA Forest Service