CASSADAGA - Job Corps in Cassadaga is currently not accepting any new students.
In a news release from Academic Director Ann M. Anderson in Cassadaga, she stated that effective Jan. 28, the National Job Corps Office has ordered all 126 Job Corps Centers across the country to freeze enrollment and cease accepting new students. The length of the enrollment suspension is determined by the time it takes to achieve necessary savings, but no later than June 30. This effort by the National Office is an attempt to recuperate a substantial budget shortfall within the National Office.
"We first want our community supporters to know that we have operated this Academy with integrity and efficiency, remaining on or slightly under budget through this entire contract period," stated Anderson. "We have already experienced two enrollment freezes in the past 8 months, and despite this have operated at 99 percent of our contracted capacity over a 12-month period.
"In addition we have continued to maintain high standards and provided high quality training to young people that has resulted in employment. Our rating in the Job Corps Outcome Measurement System is 105 percent in 2012. We have also implemented budget cuts at the request of the National Office and continued to find innovative ways to positively engage our students and ensure their success," she stated.
Anderson noted the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy and its operator Career Systems Development Corp. are "committed to continuing to work with the National Office to rescind this order and find ways to replace the cuts with measures which will not place young people in a vulnerable situation and deny them access to the education that they are trying to obtain."
Individuals with any questions or comments are encouraged to contact Adam Dolce, business and community liaison in Cassadaga, by calling (716)595-4237 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Anderson, several Job Corps supporters from across the nation have reached out to express their objections and have asked their member of Congress to communicate with the Department of Labor and instruct them to rescind this order.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is one of the ones calling on the U.S. Department of Labor to immediately halt the enrollment freeze.
"The national Job Corps office's decision to prematurely impose an enrollment freeze will harm New York's job-seeking youth and may not be the best way to address the program's budgetary problems," said Schumer in a news release. "The students and workers at our Job Corps centers should not have the rug pulled out from under them, while the national office gets their fiscal house in order."
He urged the Department of Labor to "exhaust more sensible measures, instead of an enrollment freeze that bars Upstate New York's youth from gaining valuable job training through the program."
In order to better evaluate what the other options are, Schumer asked the department for a list of all the other cuts considered in addition to the enrollment freeze and the measures taken between 2011-2012 to mitigate the program deficit.
In addition, he requested the Department of Labor provide a summary of any and all deliberations taken within the department, with other entities within the administration, with contractors and operators, Congress and other experts.
First introduced in 1964, Jobs Corps was designed to provide disadvantaged youth with the skills needed to obtain and hold a job, enter the Armed Forces, or enroll in advanced training or higher education.
In addition to receiving academic and employment training, youth also engage in social skills training and other services to promote their overall well-being.
Since then, Jobs Corps has established 125 campuses nationwide and been successful in providing social mobility for otherwise underserved youths. Upstate New York is home to five Job Corps campuses located in Otsego, Orleans, Albany, Sullivan and Chautauqua counties.
Receiving funding from state and local sources as well as the federal government, these training centers are essential for developing local economies.
The program creates skilled workers who can help drive businesses forward and benefit their respective communities as a whole.