The Astoria city council has signed a letter of support for the Tongue Point Job Corp center responding to a federal decision that would suspend new student enrollment . Job Corps centers around the nation could soon close their doors to tens of thousands of at-risk American teens and young adults.
The US Department of Labor is temporarily suspending new student enrollments at Job Corps centers across the country because of budget cuts. The Department is making exceptions for applicants who are homeless, runaways, or in the foster care system.
New student enrollment is supposed to restart in July. Job Corps centers offer free academic and career technical programs for low-income 16 to 24 year olds.
The letter to Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici asks she take action to preserve the program that provides $10 million to the Astoria economy and the city council points to the many community service projects that many of the 525 tongue point students have donated their time and skills to participate in over the years including recent projects like the Clatsop Care healing garden and Astoria downtown beautification project. The letter states that the students contribute over 5000 hours of time to various community service organizations.
Cuts to Job Corp are a familiar theme. In 1984 as the Reagan administration was preparing the federal budget the Job Corp was facing elimination with a freeze in funding for 1986 and elimination of funding by 1987. At that time Tongue Point Job Corp was spending much of it's 6 million dollar budget in Astoria and city leaders rallied to press then Congressman Les Aucoin to save the program. Local support for Job Corp among all the communities where the centers operate throughout the country turned the tide and the program continued but the threat of funding cuts continues periodically as well.