U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine have introduced legislation that would prevent the Trump administration from closing the Flatwoods Job Corps center in Coeburn.
The senators from Virginia announced the Job Corps Protection Act in a Thursday morning press release. The bill aims to block the administration from using federal funds in 2019 or 2020 to close any Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers in the U.S.
The legislation is in response to a Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture announcement that the Flatwoods facility and eight other Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers are scheduled to close as part of the program’s transfer from Agriculture to Labor.
Civilian Conservation Centers provide valuable job training for young adults ages 16-24 in rural communities, while assisting in the conservation of the nation’s public natural resources, the senators noted.
Previously, the senators and Congressman Morgan Griffith sent a letter urging the administration to reconsider its plan to close nine facilities.
“Closing the door on this vital program would not only make it harder to expand economic opportunities in Southwest Virginia, it will also make it harder for Virginia’s employers to find the kind of high-skilled talent that the jobs of tomorrow will require,” Warner said.
“There’s agreement on both sides of the aisle that President Trump shouldn’t take funding away from these critical job training programs, and Congress can prevent him from doing so by passing our bill,” Kaine said.
Seven other senators, five Democrats and two Republicans, are sponsors of the bill.
Separately, Warner and Kaine joined a group of 18 senators and 33 representatives in pushing federal agencies to reverse their decision to end the Civilian Conservation Center program in its current form and close nine facilities, the senators said.