06/19/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/19/2019 19:38
Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today applauded the reversal of the Trump administration's decision to transfer oversight of the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (CCCs) from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Department of Labor (DOL), effectively ending the program.
'I am glad Secretaries Perdue and Acosta finally came to their senses and cancelled their plans to end these critical programs,' said Rep Peter DeFazio. 'Job Corps CCC programs not only train the next generation of first responders to natural disasters, they provide a pathway to family-wage jobs for young people who may not otherwise have access to them. The reversal of this decision is a huge win for SW Oregon.'
Earlier this month, DeFazio led a bipartisan, bicameral letter of House and Senate lawmakers to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta urging the two to reverse the decision. Last week, a bipartisan amendment to preserve the program, authored by DeFazio, passed the House by a vote of 313-109.
On May 24, 2019, the USDA suddenly announced the closure or alteration of all 25 CCCs, including three in Oregon-without the consultation, notification, or approval of Congress. This decision would permanently close nine existing centers and turn oversight of the other 16 centers to private contractors.
These centers are an important part of Forest Service culture and currently employ more than 1,100 people, operate in 17 national forests and grasslands across 16 states, and provide training to over 3,000 youth and young adults. CCC programs are amongst the highest-performing Job Corps centers across the nation.
According to the Forest Service, 1,200 CCC students provided the equivalent of 450,000 hours of wildfire support during the height of the 2017 fire season.
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