Special to Guthrie News Page
Ever since its beginnings in 1964, Guthrie Job Corps has been serving the community of Guthrie, creating local jobs, and offering free career training, placement, and other benefits to the 500 students they serve annually. Over the course of their existence, they have provided training and have placed nearly 20,000 young adults in jobs, the military, or in higher education programs. However, due to a lapse in enrollment, Guthrie Job Corps is facing a reduction in their federal funding, which could result in layoffs of thirty to fifty staff and a reduction in programs and services.
Job Corps centers, which are overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor, are the largest free education and job training program nationwide. The programs and centers specifically serve adults ages 16 to 24 who are in need of job skills, are low-income eligible, and are able to legally work in the United States of America. Contrary to popular belief, to be accepted to a Job Corps center program, applicants may not have violent criminal backgrounds and may not owe a large number of fines, and are subject to drug testing and other rules. Many of the applicants hold high school diplomas or a GED, but have barriers to their success, including poverty, instability or even health issues.
Job Corps centers offer an opportunity to obtain high school diploma or GED, earn a driver’s license and develop career skills. Job Corps acts as a pathway to life success. Once an applicant has gone through the intake process and has been accepted, they are eligible to receive many of the benefits of the center, including free training in one of the many programs offered, free supplies and books, assistance with child care costs, free meals at the cafeteria, free medical care, free transportation to and from the center, free lodging in the dormitory, and a living allowance, as well as access to the fitness center, games, sporting events, social and non-profit organizations, entertainment, a salon, and more, all in a secure environment.
After a student completes their training, which averages from eight to 24 months, they can receive free career counseling and job placement, and even receive a completion bonus. The goal of the Job Corps is to prepare their students to be effective, skilled employees and citizens who are capable, contributing members of their communities.
Terry Moore, Business Community Liaison for the Guthrie Job Corps center, reported that the center has the capacity to serve 532 students, but that enrollment currently stands at 408 students.
“Unless we improve by the end of October, we could potentially lose 30 to 50 local jobs…and have fewer opportunities for the populations we serve.”
He reported that the center is an active contributor in Guthrie and partners with local businesses including Golden Age and Willow Creek, Wal-Mart, Ace Hardware and more.
“Guthrie Job Corps students helped build the obstacle course for the Police Department safety training, built the archway for the Smallest National Park Monument by the Guthrie Post Office, remodeled the Red Cross building, and regularly provides security at the Bluegrass Festival, car shows, and other events, has flag corps at parades, and prepares meals for a local church outreach.”
Cindy Short, OA/CTS Manager (Outreach & Admissions/Career Transition services) noted that Guthrie Job Corps is one of the top centers for military placement nationwide, and reported that the center is accessible for students from Oklahoma and beyond.
“We take students from all counties in Oklahoma…as well as Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and Louisiana. Not all of the centers across the nation have the same trade programs, so students can come from all over if the center in their region doesn’t offer the program they want and they obtain regional approval.”
Currently, Guthrie Job Corps offers free trade programs in carpentry, welding, electrical – residential, plumbing, computer technology, office administration, culinary arts, security, and health care. Tours of the Job Corps begin at 9:45 a.m. every Thursday, and members of the general public, parents, and potential students are all welcome. Qualified applicants can apply at any time and begin their training at any time during the year — new students begin classes every Tuesday.
“The Guthrie Job Corps is important to our community, and we want them to have continued success in the future,” stated Leroy Alsup, Guthrie City Manager. “Their training programs provide workforce for our local business and industry, their volunteer services are a big asset to community groups for special events, and the salaries of their staff and operating supplies and materials they purchase all contribute the vitality of our local economy.”
Interested adults or guardians of minors who wish to participate or learn more about programs at Guthrie Job Corps are encouraged apply online at http://guthrie.jobcorps.gov, call Cindy Short in Admissions at 405-231-3304, or set up an appointment to visit the center during regular hours at 3106 West University Avenue.