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Kathy Daley | Democrat

U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey accepts plaque from Job Corps students Shadae Sweat, left, president of the Student Government Association, and Dominique Miller, vice president.

Hinchey makes pitch at Job Corps

By Kathy Daley
CALLICOON — February 8, 2011 — Now is not the time to think about slashing funds for the Delaware Valley Job Corps Center in Callicoon and others throughout the nation.
That was the message brought home by U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) yesterday as he toured the Job Corps Center off Route 97.
“It’s already hard enough to find a job in this economy,” said Hinchey, “but imagine what it is like for a high school dropout without any job skills to speak of.”
Job Corps is the nation’s largest residential educational and vocational training program for economically disadvantaged 16- to 24-year-olds. The free program is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and has been federally funded since its inception by Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
In January, House Republicans voted to slash $81 million in Job Corps funding. Some have proposed eliminating the program completely.
“Job Corps only costs $26,000 per student,” Hinchey noted. “So we can invest in job skills training now, or pay nearly 20 times the cost of that training in welfare, public-financed health care and prison later.”
The congressman said that for each of the 1.2 million teenagers who drop out of middle school and high school each year, the cost to the American taxpayer long-term is $469,200.
That figure takes into account the decreased earnings of the drop-outs, lost tax revenues, public health care expenses, crime-related costs and increased welfare benefits, Hinchey said.
“Cutting Job Corps makes no fiscal sense whatsoever,” he said.
The personal cost of slashing away at Job Corps was brought home yesterday by the young people in Callicoon.
“Before Job Corps, I can’t remember anybody being proud of me,” said graduate Jonathan Jimenez of Livingston Manor. “I cannot even remember having any achievements, maybe because I didn’t have any friends or maybe because I was hanging around with the wrong crowd.”
Jimenez, now 22, said he was eventually arrested and served probation time. It was then he learned of Job Corps. He studied, got his high school diploma and learned carpentry, all at the Callicoon site, from 2006 to 2008.
“I am now working in carpentry for a local contractor and studying computer graphics at Sullivan Community College,” said Jimenez. He is an artist, who showed his work at an art exhibit in the public library in Manor.
“I want to be an architect someday,” he said.
“My strong foundation was created at Job Corps.”
Some of the current Job Corps students echoed his remarks. Kayben McDowell, 22, and Tiffany Case, 19, are both enrolled in the culinary arts program.
“Without Job Corps, it would have taken me a long time to get my high school diploma and the (career) certificates I need to get a good job,” said Case.
Delaware Valley Job Corps offers training in nine trades, from finance and business to Homeland Security to medical office support. But the learning extends to other areas of life as well.
“I’ve received many other benefits here — I’ve learned communication skills, patience, how to deal with customers,” said Case.
“It’s exciting to be here,” added her culinary-program colleague McDowell. “And it’s free.”
Hinchey said he would continue advocating for Job Corps. “As a member of Congress, I will fight hard to stop these cuts.”

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