JOB CORPS CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CENTERS; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 106
(Extensions of Remarks - June 24, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E825]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                         HON. PETER A. DeFAZIO

                               of oregon

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, June 24, 2019

  Mr. DeFAZIO. Madam Speaker, there were a number of concerns raised 
about Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (CCC) during debate over 
my amendment to the LHHS Appropriations bill, and I would like to 
respond to those directly.
  Contrary to the assertion that the transfer of operations of all U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service Job Corps CCCs to the 
Department of Labor (DOL) will ``allow more students to engage with the 
program,'' this move would have forced the immediate closure of nine 
centers across eight states, quite literally closing off DOL's ability 
to serve thousands of at-risk youth across the country, while also 
negatively impacting the rural communities these CCCs are built around 
and reducing the Forest Service's capacity as both wildfire and 
hurricane seasons get underway.
  During debate, it was also asserted that CCCs produce ``phenomenally 
bad results.'' Of the nine centers that were slated for closure, seven 
of them were in top half of Job Corps centers for Performance Year 
2017, the most recent program year data is available for. In the state 
of North Carolina, where at least two CCCs were slated for closure, the 
Lyndon B. Johnson Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, the 
Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, and the Schenck Job 
Corps Civilian Conservation Center rank 76th, 18th, and 4th 
respectively out of all 126 Job Corps sites. Schenck finished Program 
Year 2017 as the country's top performing Job Corps center. While not a 
CCC, the Kittrell Job Corps Center currently ranks sixth overall, 
meaning North Carolina has three of the top 20 Job Corps centers.
  Concerns over the safety and security of Job Corps sites were also 
consistently mentioned. In highlighting these concerns, no distinction 
was made between CCCs and regular Job Corps sites. In Program Year 
2017, CCCs served more than 14 percent of Job Corps' total residential 
students and accounted for 13.5 percent of total reported incidents of 
violence at Job Corps centers across the country. This clearly shows 
that CCCs are not disproportionately violent compared to other Job 
Corps centers. It is important to note that the high-profile crimes 
that occurred several years ago did not occur on a Job Corps Civilian 
Conservation Center site.
  As was testified at a hearing last Congress, the reality is that the 
mortality rate for Job Corps center students in recent program years 
was about 4.7 per 100,000. The national mortality rate for individuals 
ages 16 to 24 during that same time period was 70.88 per 100,000, more 
than 15 times higher. Students at Job Corps centers are also 19 times 
less likely to die of a drug overdoes than youth their age outside 
ofthe program.
  That being said, I agree that we must do everything we can to 
minimize violence at Job Corps centers. In the wake of tragic events in 
2015, the National Job Corps Association (NJCA) submitted policy 
recommendations to DOL in order to improve safety and security. Some of 
these recommendations have been implemented while others have not. I 
believe Congress can work together to ensure that CCCs maximize safety 
while recruiting and retaining a high number of students.
  Thankfully, the Trump Administration reversed its decision to end the 
CCC program. CCCs are an important part of the Forest Service's 
mission, they play an essential role in the health and safety of 
Oregon's forests, and they provide critical opportunities for at-risk 
youth. I will continue to push back against any future attacks and look 
forward to working with those who want to further strengthen this 
successful program.