Pine Ridge Job Corps rebounding

The mood of staffers at the Pine Ridge Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in the Pine Ridge south of Chadron is the most upbeat it's been since late January, when its enrollment was frozen as part of the federal sequestration cuts.

The arrival of a new program year the first of the month ended the freeze and center director Clyde Franklin says new students have come on campus for the first time since January.

New students would normally arrive every few weeks, but with the freeze and no new admissions for more than 5 months, Franklin says enrollment is down about 100.

Franklin doesn't know if budget issues will allow the maximum enrollment at the Pine Ridge Center to go back to 224 or if 190 will become the new maximum.

The Pine Ridge Center offers a no-cost career training for youth from 16-24 years of age in more than 100 career fields such as construction, business and finance, health care and information technology...often with work-based learning opportunities and on-the-job training.

In addition to the training programs, Job Corps students receive room and board, counseling and mentoring services, living allowances and basic medical care while also earning a high school diploma or equivalent credential.

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