Closing of Job Corps center deserves ...

Closing of Job Corps center deserves explanation

There are 15 comments on the Asheville Citizen-Times story from Mar 26, 2007, titled Closing of Job Corps center deserves explanation. In it, Asheville Citizen-Times reports that:

The U.S. Department of Labor has yet to provide a satisfactory reason for abruptly closing a work center for troubled youths in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Asheville Citizen-Times.

secpsara

United States

#2 Mar 27, 2007
This has nothing to do with the closing of the center.
Jay Ward

United States

#3 Mar 27, 2007
As a victim of the Dept of Labor hatchet job, and that's just what it is; I am aghast at the level of condensation and arrogance relayed to Job Corps employees by Dr. Johnson and her staff. For the subversion of Federal Registry regulations to have succeeded so smoothly, plans at the highest levels had to be in place months before our notification of closure. Then to have Dr. Johnson come and drop the bombshell on me and my peers with reassurances that this is only temporary but severance packages will be made available reeks of pure horse squeeze!
Jay Ward

United States

#4 Mar 27, 2007
hazelcreek wrote:
Where will the Swain Machineget it votes from now?
As a teacher at the Oconaluftee Job Corps, I take extreme offense at your attempt to attach bad fiction and politics to an admirable program that trains misplaced youth to be functioning, responsible citizens.
Ticker

Fort Worth, TX

#5 Mar 27, 2007
If what I saw there in the mid and late nineties is any indication of the condition and operation now I would have to say that the decision to close was about 10 years late in coming.
shirleen blue

Saint Michael, MN

#6 Mar 27, 2007
sorry to hear this is closing.
another form of genocide.
DGS

United States

#7 Mar 27, 2007
With great sadness, I have watched and listened to the way in which the students and employees at the Oconaluftee Job Corps Center have been treated. On March 19, 2007, Esther Johnson, National Director of Job Corps, testified before the House Labor Subcommittee. During this testimony Representative Dennis Rehberg(R-MT) specifically asked Dr. Johnson for reassurance that no Job Corps Centers would be closed. Johnson specifically stated that NO Job Corps Centers would be closed. During this testimony she talked of repairs to the sprinklers systems and removal of dangerous asbestos at Hubert Humphrey Jobs Corps Center . All of this was done without the closure of the Center and without any displacement of staff or students.
On Thursday, March 22, Dr. Johnson arrived at OJCC to announce that because of a leaky roof and a faulty fire alarm system and some mold in one bathroom: the Center would be closing immediately.s
What happened to what she had said less than three days prior to this announcement? Surely she does not expect anyone to believe that this decision was made overnight. Other Centers were notified that they would be receiving Oconaluftee students as early as Tuesday, March 20, just one day after her assurances that no Centers would be closed.
No cancerous causing agents such as asbestos had to be removed from Oconaluftee, yet the Center still had to be closed for repairs. What could possibly be more hazardous to your health, mold or asbestos?
As for the faulty fire alarms, the Humphrey Center had a faulty sprinkler system. I guess that is less hazardous than faulty fire alarm.
In reference to the leaky roof, I guess we all must rent a motel room when we have the roof on our own homes repaired.
As far as the general run down condition of the Center, Dr. Johnson blames the Department of the Interior. She stated that the DOL funds OJCC through the DOI and therefore the fault lies with DOI not DOL.
Obviously, there have been no audits on whether this money was given, received or spent on these renovations. And if an audit done, where is the money? And if the money was spent for something other than renovations, why are the staff and students being punished for the inadequacy of the government?
The bottom line is somebody dropped the ball. To the staff and students at OJCC it probably isn’t an issue as to who dropped the ball, but rather what is SOMEONE going to do to fix it? Lives are in limbo because Dr. Johnson can not tell the truth. How many other lies have been told? Until it makes a difference in your life, I guess it doesn’t matter. I hope we stand together and make sure it doesn’t matter now.
Robin

United States

#8 Mar 27, 2007
As an employ of Oconaluftee Job corps it infuriates and saddens me to know that the public has been mislead and deceived by Dr. Johnson and the media. WLOS was allowed to film a ten second clip of a wall that needed repair and mold that could have been cleaned with Clorox. But what the public was not shown was the rest of center. The center has six dorms. The front four male dorms have been modernized with in the past couple of years. The two female dorms, although not modernized, are certainly clean and mold free. I ask myself “why was this not shown on WLOS?” The only answer I can come up with seems to be the simplest. DOL didn’t want the public to see the truth. Dr. Johnson made OJCC appear to be the worst center out of 122. Again, I question “How many has she actually been to?” Job corps centers are graded yearly by standards set fourth by DOL. According to their own grading system Oconaluftee is 103 out of that 122. Why didn’t she start at 122? What is the real agenda that disrupted the lives of staff and students? I wish she was here to answer the phone calls I receive daily from students. It is heart breaking to hear them cry and beg staff to come get them. Dr. Johnson we deserve the truth.
D Smith

United States

#9 Mar 27, 2007
I have over 28 years of government service and 20 of it at the Oconaluftee Job Corps Center. The staff here are all dedicated to helping the students get there education and becoming productive citizens to the community they live in. A vast majority of the students we transferred to other centers were well on the way to doing this. When suddenly they were up rooted and shipped out due to what ever axes are being ground in Washington. Over the past few days, I have received calls from former staff and students wanting to know what happened and how they can help the center to a speedy reopening. The sad thing is that I can’t tell them a lot about what happened except that we were blindsided by DOL and we must have faith in God that we will be reopened soon and back in the business of training young people.
Spouse of Corps Employee

Princeton Junction, NJ

#10 Mar 27, 2007
My spouse worked at this center as a federal employee for decades. Since the beginning of 2006 the staff has suffered. The center has constantly been under investigation by one entity or another, and findings have been extremely negative. My spouse felt the center was sure to be shut down the beginning of 2007. I am glad my loved one got out of that place and I think these "employees" who pretend they had no idea the closing was a possibility were either lied to by their supervisors or very naive. However, I wish them luck.
JACS REC EMPLOYEE

United States

#11 Mar 29, 2007
I WORKED AS A CONTRACTOR IN 2 DIFFERENT CAPACITIES WHILE AT JOB CORPS. I WAS A JACS COUNSELOR AND LATER AT THE URGING OF THE RESIDENTIAL SUPERVISOR TOOK A POSITION IN RECREATION. I THINK THAT THE PERCEPTION OF KEY STAFF DEPENDS UPON YOUR DEPARTMENT. I KNOW MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE POSTED HERE AND BY THE ADMISSION OF MANY OF THE INSTRUCTORS IN EDUCATION THEY WERE CONSTANTLY KEPT IN THE DARK ABOUT GOINGS ON AT THE CENTER. IN ADDITION, THOSE INSTRUCTORS DID NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH MANY OTHER DEPARTMENTS OR KEY STAFF. I CAN TELL YOU THAT BETWEEN THE RESIDENTIAL LIVING SUPERVISORS, THE WOMAN IN CHARGE OF STUDENTS WORKING IN THE FIELD, THE CENTER DIRECTOR WHO WAS CONSTANTLY OUSTING STAFF IN ORDER TO MAKE ROOM FOR PEOPLE OF HER OWN CHOOSING, AND MANY OF THE RESIDENTIAL LIVING STAFF AND THE CONSTANT MEDDLING--THE TRUTH MEANT NOTHING AT ALL.
IN THE TIME I WAS THERE WE LOST GOOD PEOPLE INCLUDING AN RA WHO HAD BEEN ATTACKED BY STUDENTS ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION AND THE KEY PERSONNEL FAILED TO TAKE ACTION.
THE CENTER HAVING TOO MANY DOIFFERENT CONTRACTS WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE SECTOR COMPANIES LIKE BOYS CLUB, JACS, RESCARE, AND SOUTHWESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE MADE THINGS MORE DIFFICULT. EDUCATION MAY HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT BUT FOR MOST EMPLOYEES THE BUCK GOT PASSED AROUND UNTIL IT WAS DUMPED ON SOMEONE.
I FEEL BAD FOR A FEW PEOPLE I KNEW WHEN I WAS THERE BUT MOST OF THEM YOU COULDN'T TRUST--THIS IS NOT MEANT TOWARD ANYONE IN EDUCATION (NON-SUPERVISORY).
GOOD LUCK GUYS
Gary

United States

#12 Mar 30, 2007
When did these DOL investigations start?
J Jn

United States

#13 Mar 30, 2007
The OJC is overloaded with thugs, thieves, and wanna-be gangsters. None of which made it on the various news channels or in the print press photo layouts for obvious reasons. This Center should have been closed down decades ago. It has operated as an eye-sore within a park for years, which has no connection to the Center.
These "kids" are far from it. The Center accepts students between the ages of 16-24. Most "students" are legal adults. Many of these use the Center to meet women, use drugs and alcohol, and extort money from others not affiliated with their gangs. This Center is a complete waste of taxpayers' money and should be permanently shut down. Many of these "students" are behaviorly challenged, have histories with the law, and are not interested in anything more than whatever they can get way with. It is not an environment for learning. It is an unsafe environment and an unclean environment. Pregnancy and STD rates are exploding on Center. Line level staff is under paid, overworked and unsupported by management. The most common reason for student dismissal is drug use. Either failing a drug test after their initial test upon arrival or getting caught.
These young adults were problamatic in their urban communities and that is how they wound up at the job corps in the first place. Training them and then dumping them in the local community just brings their urban values (drugs, crime, etc.) to the community and denegrates the whole.
It is sad to see people's lives, who care, affected by the employment issue, but rumors of a closure have been around for a long time. Should have seen it coming. Advanced notice would have simply given the politicians a chance to do an end-around and perpetuate this disgrace.
Close this Center, find jobs or issue severance for those affected and move on. Do not waste another dime of taxpayers' money in this failed attempt at solving other cities' problems! Bulldoze the buildings and haul out the waste.
Theresa

United States

#14 Mar 31, 2007
I want to express my disappointment due to the closing of Oconaluftee Job Corps. As a former student, I was interested in giving back to the place that changed my life. I applied for a position of Residential Advisor at the OJCC. I received a call stating to report for duty on Monday. I was ecstatic at the possibility of being able to help a young person’s life, as so many staff had done for me 14 years ago. As a result, I resigned my recent positions and relocated. Within a couple of days of starting work, I was stunned and shocked to learn that the center was closing. Some students were just weeks from graduating and pursuing there career choices. I personally observed the devastation and disbelief felt by staff and students. The students felt betrayed and lied to as well as myself. I really hope the center will reopen as Dr. E. Johnson promised!!!

Theresa Hill
facts man

United States

#15 Apr 7, 2007
JACS REC EMPLOYEE wrote:
I WORKED AS A CONTRACTOR IN 2 DIFFERENT CAPACITIES WHILE AT JOB CORPS. I WAS A JACS COUNSELOR AND LATER AT THE URGING OF THE RESIDENTIAL SUPERVISOR TOOK A POSITION IN RECREATION. I THINK THAT THE PERCEPTION OF KEY STAFF DEPENDS UPON YOUR DEPARTMENT. I KNOW MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE POSTED HERE AND BY THE ADMISSION OF MANY OF THE INSTRUCTORS IN EDUCATION THEY WERE CONSTANTLY KEPT IN THE DARK ABOUT GOINGS ON AT THE CENTER. IN ADDITION, THOSE INSTRUCTORS DID NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH MANY OTHER DEPARTMENTS OR KEY STAFF. I CAN TELL YOU THAT BETWEEN THE RESIDENTIAL LIVING SUPERVISORS, THE WOMAN IN CHARGE OF STUDENTS WORKING IN THE FIELD, THE CENTER DIRECTOR WHO WAS CONSTANTLY OUSTING STAFF IN ORDER TO MAKE ROOM FOR PEOPLE OF HER OWN CHOOSING, AND MANY OF THE RESIDENTIAL LIVING STAFF AND THE CONSTANT MEDDLING--THE TRUTH MEANT NOTHING AT ALL.
IN THE TIME I WAS THERE WE LOST GOOD PEOPLE INCLUDING AN RA WHO HAD BEEN ATTACKED BY STUDENTS ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION AND THE KEY PERSONNEL FAILED TO TAKE ACTION.
THE CENTER HAVING TOO MANY DOIFFERENT CONTRACTS WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE SECTOR COMPANIES LIKE BOYS CLUB, JACS, RESCARE, AND SOUTHWESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE MADE THINGS MORE DIFFICULT. EDUCATION MAY HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT BUT FOR MOST EMPLOYEES THE BUCK GOT PASSED AROUND UNTIL IT WAS DUMPED ON SOMEONE.
I FEEL BAD FOR A FEW PEOPLE I KNEW WHEN I WAS THERE BUT MOST OF THEM YOU COULDN'T TRUST--THIS IS NOT MEANT TOWARD ANYONE IN EDUCATION (NON-SUPERVISORY).
GOOD LUCK GUYS
can we say fired!!! or just sour grapes!!!!! and YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!!
Jonathan Pettiway

Virginia Beach, VA

#16 Feb 9, 2008
As a former student and graduate of Oconaluftee Job Corps Center i just think that this problem should be fixed and done with.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Asheville Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News It's the Darwin crowd that lacks the facts in e... (Mar '09) 10 hr Genesis Enigma 163,074
females in asheville nc (Jul '16) Aug 20 Gin Mill 33
BRING BACK Our FORUMS! Aug 19 Jim Bob 4
Where Did Asheville Go? Aug 19 DogGone 12
I Feel Unsafe At Asheville Oneness Deeksha (Jan '17) Aug 19 S Buttler 120
Do alot of rich people live in Asheville? (Jul '10) Aug 18 MissAshe 59
governor wimpie ray cooper needs his ass beat t... Aug 17 Southern Partisan 2

Asheville Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

Asheville Mortgages