After Trump Administration Moves to Close Blackwell Job Corps Center, Senator Baldwin Takes Action to Protect Northwoods Job Training Program

Bipartisan legislation will block Administration from removing funds from successful job training program serving Forest County since 1964

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the announcement that the Trump administration plans to close the Blackwell Job Corps Center in Forest County, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to demand answers and prevent the removal of funds from the Civilian Conservation Centers program.

“The Blackwell Job Corps Center is so important to our Northwoods community by providing good paying jobs for 56 workers and job training to young adults. For 55 years, this civilian conservation center helped expand economic opportunities in rural Wisconsin and supported the U.S. Forest Service’s mission of maintaining the long-term health of Wisconsin’s forests,” said Senator Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I’m calling on the Trump administration to immediately halt their decision to close this facility and others, and I’m joining my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce new legislation that will prevent further changes to the program.”

The Trump administration recently announced it was closing down Blackwell, near Laona, and eight other Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers across the country.

This week, Democrats and Republicans in both the Senate and House of Representatives sent a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue calling on them to reconsider the decision to permanently close over a third of Civilian Conservation Centers nationwide and end the program in its current form. The full letter is available here.

Senator Baldwin also teamed up with a bipartisan group of Senators, led by Jon Tester (D-MT), to introduce the Job Corps Protection Act that blocks the administration from using federal government funds in 2019 or 2020 to close any Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers in the United States. The bill will prohibit any federal government agency from making changes to agreements that operate Job Corps facilities—preventing them from privatization. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

In announcing the closure of the nine Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers across the country, the Trump administration unveiled a plan to effectively privatize the program by transferring 16 Job Corps from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the U.S. Department of Labor. Job Corps are located in numerous states across the country. People ages 16-24 are eligible to voluntarily enroll in Job Corps for hands-on job training. Many businesses partner with local Job Corps to meet the need of high-skilled labor.

Last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation that invested $1.7 billion in Job Corps programs across the country.