An amendment that would protect Civilian Conservation Centers like the Wolf Creek Job Corps in Glide passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday on a bipartisan 313-109 vote.
The amendment, authored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, would undo an earlier decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to close or alter 25 CCC’s. Nine were slated to close. The remaining 16, including Wolf Creek, were to be managed by private contractors under the Department of Labor. They are currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the USDA.
The move could have been damaging to Wolf Creek’s most popular training program, which trains students in forestry conservation and firefighting.
Across the country, CCCs provide training to more than 3,000 young people and are among the highest performing Job Corps centers, DeFazio said. About 1,200 CCC students provided the equivalent of 450,000 hours of wildlife support during the height of the 2017 fire season.
“The decision to effectively end the Job Corps CCC program is shortsighted and will have a tremendous negative impact on Southwest Oregon,” DeFazio said in a press release. “Civilian Conservation Centers are unique and incredibly successful facilities that operate under the Job Corps program with a mandate to help conserve and develop public resources and to respond to natural disasters. The program also helps train thousands of at-risk youth from low-income and rural communities, providing them with cutting-edge vocational training and pathways out of poverty. I am proud this amendment passed with strong bipartisan support and urge the Senate to include it in its appropriations bill as well.”
Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, have also introduced legislation into the Senate attempting to block the shift to private management of CCCs.