Fight’s On to Save Model Job Corps Center in Idaho: 77 Jobs, 282 Students, and Local Commerce to be Shuttered



Contact: Brittany Holder

Phone: 202-216-4424

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) expressed grave concern over the planned closure of the Centennial Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Nampa, Idaho.  The State of Idaho, in a bid with the College of Western Idaho (CWI), wants to close Centennial and replace it with a state-run job program that will handle a small fraction of Centennial’s 300+ student capacity. The closure will result in the loss of 77 local staff jobs, and a loss of millions of dollars in local commerce that supports the center and its 300+ students when at capacity.       

“It is hard for me to believe that the State of Idaho is continuing to move forward with the closure of the Centennial Job Corps Center,” stated Randy Erwin, NFFE National President, representing Centennial staff members.  “Centennial is a model top-tier, taxpayer-friendly job training center that helps disadvantaged young people find their way in the world, and it brings jobs and revenue to the regional economy.  The State of Idaho wants to throw all of that away because someone has their eye on the Centennial center land.  It’s unreal, and it’s extremely unfair to the students, staff and local businesses that rely on Centennial.”

While exact plan is unclear, Idaho Labor Department officials have indicated that the state-run Idaho JOBCorps program will occupy a portion of the land where the Centennial center now sits, and the program will accept up to 50 residential students, a small fraction of what Centennial is designed to hold.  In addition, the state-run program will not offer many of the programs currently offered through the U.S. Forest Service, including the celebrated Advanced Fire Management Trade Program where students train and serve as wildland firefighters and first responders to other natural disasters, such as floods and tornadoes.

“We are not replacing apples with apples here,” Erwin continued.  “Centennial, like the other Civilian Conservation Centers operated by the Forest Service, is designed to take students from all levels of previous academic achievement.  Some have high school diplomas, some come to get their GED, and some may not find the GED route is for them.  Regardless, Centennial trains, equips and provides real-world experience for students at all levels for success in the workforce.  A community college is not equipped to handle this diversity of capabilities.  Many of the students who would have come to Centennial will be forgotten.”