Plans to Close Forest Service Job Training Centers Draw Ire from AFGE

A federal employee union is slamming plans to shutter multiple Forest Service centers that provide job training for at-risk youth, saying it will hurt both federal staff at these facilities and the population they serve

The American Federation of Government Employees said May 31 it “vehemently opposes” the closures of nine Forest Service Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers and the transfer of the remaining 15 to the Labor Department.

“We’ve seen this time and time again,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement. “The administration wants to fire unionized federal employees and contract out their jobs to for-profit companies.”

On May 30, DOL announced in the Federal Register its proposal to deactivate the nine Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers. Doing so could bolster the overall management and operation of the Job Corps program, by allocating program resources on higher-performing centers and increasing cost efficiency, among other things, the Federal Register notice said.

The federal Job Corps program has served disadvantaged and at-risk youth for over 50 years, Cox said.

“The administration’s proposal to close these centers will not only starve students of these vital opportunities, but it will also eliminate the jobs of the federal employees who staff these facilities and hurt the communities where these employees provide a vital lifeline for disadvantaged and at-risk youth,” he said.

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