Barletta Touts Benefits of Job Corps during Congressional Hearing
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today highlighted the success of the Keystone Job Corps Center in Drums, Pennsylvania during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing, “Student Safety in the Job Corps Program,” about improving safety and security at Job Corps centers across the nation. Barletta, the Republican Chairman of the Job Corps Caucus, said that the Keystone Center’s partnerships with local organizations and businesses have helped to foster a safe and secure environment while benefitting both students and the community.
“When I was mayor, I met the students from the Keystone Job Corps Center and witnessed the work they did for our community,” Barletta said. “They helped to build the sidewalks around City Hall and designed the trash receptacles during the downtown beautification project. I’ve also had numerous Job Corps students intern in my Hazleton district office. Job Corps allows young adults to get involved in our community, which benefits everyone.”
Barletta noted that Job Corps students perform a number of community services, such as helping fire departments perform smoke alarm tests in neighborhoods, volunteering with the United Way and Habitat for Humanity, and preparing meals for community events. Barletta said that management officials at the Keystone Center told him that these community partnerships have helped to increase students’ safety, security, and sense of community.
“Teaching students to live in a community, and be part of one, fosters a sense of self-value that lends itself to a sense of accountability to others,” Barletta said. “I am proud to represent Keystone, and I believe that every Job Corps Center has the responsibility to be a good neighbor.”
Barletta questioned Jeff Barton, Academy Director at the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Academy in Kentucky, about how Job Corps students’ engagement with their local community helps to reduce violence and increase safety. Barton said that students at the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Center participate in similar activities as the students at the Keystone Center, and highlighted the Job Corps’ “Youth to Youth” anti-bullying initiative.
“[The Youth-to-Youth initiative] encourages students to get out in the community, work with local school systems, and work with local residents to send a message that there are other ways to solve problems besides bullying, hazing, and fighting,” Barton said. “Students across the country have expressed coping skills to deal with problems other than violence or argument. We are going to continue with those types of initiatives moving forward.”
The Job Corps program was enacted as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and most recently reauthorized in 2014 as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. That bill contained provisions similar to Barletta’s America Works Act, H.R. 497, to encourage states and localities to prioritize federal spending on education and training.
Job Corps is designed to provide young people with the skills necessary to obtain and hold jobs, enter the armed forces, or enroll in continuing education. The 124,000 Job Corps centers across the country serve more than 60,000 participants, who must be ages 16 to 24, low income, and facing barriers to employment and education.
Click here to view video of the hearing.