Sen. Robert Casey, D-PA, has asked the Department of Labor Inspector-General to find out why the Job Corps program is cutting enrollment in its four Keystone State centers.
"The Keystone Job Corps plays a critical role in helping at risk youth get the skills they need to compete for jobs. The Department of Labor's enrollment freeze is a step in the wrong direction," said Casey. "Unemployment in Pennsylvania is still too high. At a time like this we need to be doing all we can to help residents get jobs, not taking steps to make finding work more difficult."
Casey said the Job Corps freeze will cost 450 jobs in Pennsylvania, including 176 at the Keystone facility. He wants the DOL IG to find out what led to the decision to freeze enrollments in the program that is designed to provide job training for at-risk youth.
The Job Corps currently operates 125 centers across the country, serving approximately 60,000 enrollees. The program was created as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs in the 1960s.
Casey's comments came on the heels of announcement by the House Education and the Workforce Committee that it is investigating why DOL and Job Corps officials had budget shortfalls totalling more than $100 million in 2011 and 2012. Those shortfalls were cited as the reason then-Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis ordered a freeze on Job Corps enrollments.
Solis announced her resignation shortly after President Obama was re-elected last November.
Go here for more from Casey on his call for an IG investigation of the Job Corps.