The Trump administration, under heavy pressure from Congress, will withdraw plans to end a U.S. Forest Service program that trains underprivileged youth, spokespersons for the Agriculture and Labor departments told POLITICO.
The Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers, a program within the Job Corps, trains low-income young people to to become first responders to natural disasters, to work on rural infrastructure projects and to maintain national forests. The administration’s reversal on its shuttering the centers comes after significant pushback from lawmakers of both parties — including Senate Majority LeaderMitch McConnell — and also from the union that represents USDA Forest Service employees.
“For the time being, USDA does not intend to transfer these centers to DOL to allow management to determine a pathway that will maximize opportunity and results for students, minimize disruptions, and improve overall performance and integrity,” the USDA and DOL spokespersons said in an emailed statement. “DOL and USDA will conduct a robust organizational review to determine the appropriate course of action keeping in mind the [Forest Service] mission, the students we serve, and the American taxpayers.”
DOL announced in May that it accepted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s decision to pull out of the Job Corps program. Perdue stated in a letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta that the Forest Service had to step away from activities that were not essential to its core mission to improve “the condition and resilience” of America’s forests.
The decision was sudden; Forest Service Vicki Christansen told employees she had learned of the plan only four days prior. And members of Congress said they weren’t consulted or notified.
Now I am probably one of the least political people on the planet, but any Trump administration effort would get pushback from D’s almost by definition, so it seems like they would check if they had any R’s with them before they launched this effort. Unless, of course, the effort, not the outcome, was some true goal (as in, “we tried but what could we do (shrug)?)”. I’d like to get the inside story on this apparent extreme political ham-handedness if anyone knows anything…