Job Corps breaks ground on new center
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02/21/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

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U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao was in St. Petersburg’s Midtown neighborhood this afternoon to break ground on the Pinellas County Job Corps Center.

Job Corps is a “no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor,” according to its website.

Chao said the Job Corps Center, which will open in the summer of 2009 at the corner of Fifth Avenue South and Twenty-Second Street South, will cost $40-million to construct. According to Chao, it will provide permanent jobs for 100 staff and faculty and will teach young adults marketable job skills.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker said having a Job Corps Center is important to his city and to Pinellas County.

Chair of the Pinellas County Commission, Bob Stewart, said the Job Corps project will create winners among many segments of the community.

Until the Democrats took over control of Congress a year ago, Republican Representative C.W. “Bill” Young served as the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, only two members of Congress were responsible for more earmarks than Rep. Young in Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations bills. While giving credit to the many people involved in bringing Job Corps to Pinellas County, Young referenced his ability to procure the competitive funding for this project.

WMNF spoke with Job Corps participants from Gainesville, the nearest of the four centers in the state. The others are in Miami, Homestead, and Jacksonville.

Anfernee Butler is president of the Student Government Association in the Gainesville Job Corps Center. He has been there about eight months and said it incorporates elements of school and work with a “military style.”

Photo credit: Seán Kinane.

For more information:

Job Corps

Elaine Chao

Taxpayers for Common Sense

C.W. Bill Young

Esther Johnson, national director of Job Corps

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