06/12/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/12/2019 17:31
A bipartisan amendment authored by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) preserving the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center (CCC) program today passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 313-109.
'The decision to effectively end the Job Corps CCC program is shortsighted and will have a tremendous negative impact on Southwest Oregon,' said Rep. Peter DeFazio. 'Civilian Conservation Centers are unique and incredibly successful facilities that operate under the Job Corps program with a mandate to help conserve and develop public resources and to respond to natural disasters. The program also helps train thousands of at-risk youth from low-income and rural communities, providing them with cutting-edge vocational training and pathways out of poverty. I am proud this amendment passed with strong bipartisan support and urge the Senate to include it in its appropriations bill as well.'
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.
Rep. DeFazio led a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers last week in sending a letter to Secretaries Perdue and Acosta urging them to reverse the decision.
To watch Rep. DeFazio speak on the House floor in support of the amendment, click here.