Job Corps enrollment freeze over, but layoffs, fiscal troubles loom
By Dan Hust
CALLICOON April 26, 2013 Callicoon’s Delaware Valley Job Corps Center (DVJCC) and each of the 124 other Job Corps throughout the nation has now been allowed to restart enrolling students.
A hiatus forced on the private Job Corps operators by the federal Dept. of Labor (DOL) in January was expected to last through June, but this week, NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther announced that the enrollment freeze was over.
“This was a collaborative effort,” said Gunther. “From [U.S.] Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand, to the members of the community and myself, this shows the power of collaboration. Working together, we were able to do great things for our community, and I am proud to have been a part of that.”
The lifting of the suspension means deep cuts to staff and programs have been averted, but a local source said that layoffs are still likely.
Up till now, Adams and Associates the operator of DVJCC, contracted through DOL has been allowed to enroll 396 students, but DOL has now dropped that to 315.
As a result, said the source, up to a dozen layoffs can be expected from the staff of 150, though the majority are vacant positions.
Federal officials had not confirmed these numbers at press time yesterday, nor had they answered the Democrat’s questions about either the lifting of the suspension or the future of the Job Corps program nationwide and locally.
They did release an official statement from Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris.
“The Department strongly supports Job Corps, which provides life-changing op-portunities for thousands of deserving young people each year," he said. “The suspension of enrollment has been difficult for students and families, and the Department is committed to ensuring that this important program is administered efficiently ... and in the best interests of students and families.
“I greatly appreciate the support of the Congress, through the Continuing Resolution [the law funding operations through September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year], to help us address funding challenges.”
He indicated those fiscal challenges remain, and the local source said DVJCC is working hard not to become a casualty of future cuts.
The Delaware Valley Job Corps Center in Callicoon has served at-risk youth aged 16-24 through educational and vocational programs at the former St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary since 1979.
“The Office of Job Corps looks forward to working collaboratively with representatives of the Job Corps contractor community to continue efforts to reduce administrative costs, re-examine the size of career technical training and academic programs, and implement cost savings recommended by working groups,” Harris stated.