Job Corps
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Job Corps’ ARRA Funds

Spark a Chain Reaction for Employment in Local Communities

More than 100 jobs will be created in the Ottumwa, Iowa, community when Job Corps’ newest center opens in 2011. Hundreds more have been hired during the construction phase.

Randy Houk, a Grooms & Company Construction employee, had been laid off by his previous employer and was out of work before getting hired by Grooms to work on the construction of the Ottumwa Job Corps Center.

“Iowa Job Corps got me a job, and will hopefully result in a future job with this company,” Houk says. “I’ve been working since last October, and I’m proud of the job we’re doing.”

The Ottumwa Job Corps Center will continue to be a leading job source in the community long after the construction is complete. The center will look to the community to find qualified instructors, administrative staff, and maintenance workers. Local businesses will also benefit from the center’s presence in the community when graduates prepare to enter the workforce.

The construction of the Ottumwa Job Corps Center is just one example of the impact that Job Corps projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are having on the economy. Across the nation, Job Corps center construction projects and green career training opportunities are helping local workers and students find employment.

The St. Louis Job Corps Center, like Ottumwa, has employed numerous local companies in the construction of three new dormitories on the campus. Students from Hubert H. Humphrey and Earle C. Clements Job Corps Centers have been hired for full-time positions because of the training they received at Job Corps.

At the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center, construction on center, including a new female dormitory and numerous renovation projects, has put more than 19 local contractors and subcontractors to work. John Brondsena, project superintendent for Nevilles Electric Service, is one of many workers experiencing the positive impact that this project has afforded the Grand Rapids community. “If it weren’t for this job, I would have been out of work for the next 18 months,” Brondsena said.

The Ford project also led the general contractor to form a work-based learning partnership with the center, so Construction students are able to receive hands-on training in a variety of tasks. The quality of work and level of dedication shown by the students training with the construction contractors has helped lead to several employment opportunities.

Following graduation from Job Corps, several students were hired by Nevilles to continue working on the center construction project. Carpentry graduate Jamell West was planning to return to his hometown of Detroit but chose to stay in Grand Rapids when Nevilles offered him a job. “I knew nothing about carpentry before I came to Job Corps,” West said. “The center taught me the skills that I use every day at work.”