Support for a Major Job Corps Initiative

June 21, 2019
Weekly Columns

When the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced at the end of May that it would be closing nine Civilian Conservation Center (CCC) programs across the country, I was discouraged to learn that the Cass Center in Ozark was one of the nine. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton and I immediately wrote to the USDA and Department of Labor (DOL), expressing concern about the proposed closures, the lack of congressional notification and what that would mean for rural parts of our state.

Now, I’m pleased to hear the news that President Trump decided to withdraw plans to end the CCC program.

If you aren’t familiar with CCCs, they are a unique part of the Job Corps that educate young people in rural communities, as well as train and equip people in immediate disaster relief efforts. At its core, the mission of CCCs is to conserve, develop and manage public natural resources and public recreation areas. While the Cass Center itself is in Ozark, the young people educated there are scattered around the state. Fighting wildfires, engaging in forest restoration and promoting sound forest management are among some of the skills they learn.

Now that the Cass Center will remain operational, I’m looking forward to working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make sure students and taxpayers are getting the most benefits for their investment. This decision also proves that President Trump and other agencies are listening to the concerns of Congress, and willing to reconsider plans that may not be in the best interest of constituents.

I’m always working to represent your needs in the federal government, and I’m so glad that these jobs and resources will remain available to communities across the Fourth District.