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Kicking Horse Job Corps showcases program despite enrollment freeze

By Alyssa Kelly
Char-Koosta News

Kicking Horse Job Corp hosts its quarterly community relations meeting. The meeting included an update on operations and the work the program has been involved in over the past year. (Alyssa Kelly photo) Kicking Horse Job Corp hosts its quarterly community relations meeting. The meeting included an update on operations and the work the program has been involved in over the past year. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

RONAN — Amidst its three-month freeze on enrollment, Kicking Horse Job Corps showcased its program’s work to a panel of business owners and representatives during a mid-year community relations meeting.

The freeze was directed by the Department of Labor and isn’t projected to end until after Christmas break. The program has not accepted applications. “This has been a process of hurry up and wait,” said MTC Montana State Coordinator Kristy Moss. “We aren’t accepting applications because they can only be filed for 60 days and then they are void.”

Mitchell: Donna Mitchell encourages businesses and organizations to include Job Corps students in its community volunteer projects. “Job Corps has a long history of being active in our local community,” Mitchell said. “Our work needs to serve the community at large and some of things we’ve been involved in are helping run different camps and projects to improve local parks or sports fields.” (Alyssa Kelly photo) Mitchell: Donna Mitchell encourages businesses and organizations to include Job Corps students in its community volunteer projects. “Job Corps has a long history of being active in our local community,” Mitchell said. “Our work needs to serve the community at large and some of things we’ve been involved in are helping run different camps and projects to improve local parks or sports fields.” (Alyssa Kelly photo)

 The fiscal year 2018 Congressional Budget Justification Employment and Training Administration reports that the national Job Corp program is projected to receive a $237,500 cut in its budget from last year. “You never know what your budget is going to look like because it depends on the current (Presidential) administration. All we can do is work with what we have and keep our program operating,” acting Center Director Greg Dumontier said.

Aside from its operations, the meeting included highlights of the program’s work over the past six months. Heavy Equipment repair student Alex Russell said he represented Kicking Horse Job Corp while attending the national Youth to Youth: Partners in Peace conference in Washington DC– a national Job Corp campaign against bullying and violence.

Kicking Horse Job Corp has been under a freeze on enrollment directed by the Department of Labor. While there is no exact date on when the freeze will be lifted, MTC Montana State Coordinator Krsty Moss said they are projecting to accept applications after Christmas Break. “This has been a process of hurry up and wait,” said Moss. “We aren’t accepting applications because they can only be filed for 60 days and then they are void.” (Alyssa Kelly photo) Kicking Horse Job Corp has been under a freeze on enrollment directed by the Department of Labor. While there is no exact date on when the freeze will be lifted, MTC Montana State Coordinator Krsty Moss said they are projecting to accept applications after Christmas Break. “This has been a process of hurry up and wait,” said Moss. “We aren’t accepting applications because they can only be filed for 60 days and then they are void.” (Alyssa Kelly photo)

Students from over 60 Job Corp centers throughout the nation were represented at the conference; they attended presentations and visited national monuments. Russell said he received a valuable message from the national director of Job Corp Lenita Jacobs-Simmons.

“He told us that schooling could teach us a trade but it won’t prepare us to deal with the real world negativity,” he said. “The definition of a leader is to be able to teach others and that’s what we learned to do at the conference. How to lead others in a more positive path.”

Breaking down numbers over the past six months, Outreach Transition Specialist Marie Bigby reported that the program served 168 total students–126 of which graduated. Kicking Horse Job corps offers certification in six trades: culinary arts, pharmacy technician, dental assistant, certified nursing assistant, heavy equipment operating/mechanics, and facilities maintenance.

Heavy Equipment repair student Alex Russell said he represented Kicking Horse Job Corp while attending the national Youth to Youth: Partners in Peace conference in Washington DC– a national Job Corp campaign against bullying and violence. “The definition of a leader is to be able to teach others and that’s what we learned to do at the conference. How to lead others in a more positive path,” he said. (Alyssa Kelly photo) Heavy Equipment repair student Alex Russell said he represented Kicking Horse Job Corp while attending the national Youth to Youth: Partners in Peace conference in Washington DC– a national Job Corp campaign against bullying and violence. “The definition of a leader is to be able to teach others and that’s what we learned to do at the conference. How to lead others in a more positive path,” he said. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

“107 of our students have been placed, meaning they’ve gone on to continue their work or education,” Bigby said.“Our student’s average salary is $11.07 an hour. We’ve had 17 students go on to school, five students went into the military, and one young man went on to receive advanced training for asphalt at another Job Corp facility. Seventy-four of ours students have gone on to work in a field related to their training.”

The final component to the community relations meeting was encouraging local programs and businesses to include Kicking Horse Job Corp students in community volunteer projects. OA/CTS/BCL Coordinator Donna Mitchell said the students are required to meet a quota on community contributions.

“Job Corps has a long history of being active in our local community,” Mitchell said. “Our work needs to serve the community at large and some of things we’ve been involved in are helping run different camps and projects to improve local parks or sports fields.”

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ NRD Wild Land Recreation Work Project Coordinator Terry Tanner said he’s had a longtime collaboration working with Job Corp students. “Job Corp has been a great help in the past with different wild land projects and also things like the River Honoring,” he said. “I really appreciate the work that’s come from the Job Corps students over the years.” (Alyssa Kelly photo) Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ NRD Wild Land Recreation Work Project Coordinator Terry Tanner said he’s had a longtime collaboration working with Job Corp students. “Job Corp has been a great help in the past with different wild land projects and also things like the River Honoring,” he said. “I really appreciate the work that’s come from the Job Corps students over the years.” (Alyssa Kelly photo)

A longtime collaborator with Kicking Horse Job Corp was Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ NRD Wild Land Recreation Work Project Coordinator Terry Tanner who said he’s had positive experiences working with its students.

“Job Corp has been a great help in the past with different wild land projects and also things like the River Honoring,” he said. “I remember we had a welding student work with us on some docks and she did excellent work. She showed up on time with her safety gear ready to work. I would have hired her. I really appreciate the work that’s come from the Job Corps students over the years.”

Although there is a freeze on enrollment, the staff is receiving contact information from potential students. For more information on the Kicking Horse Job Corp program, visit: https://kickinghorse.jobcorps.gov or call: (406) 644-2217.

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