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Strengthening Community Resilience

Sweet sourwood honey flowed, and pickled banana peppers, beets, pearl onions and more stood proud in the Cherokee Fall Festival in Cherokee, North Carolina. There was also stunning, blue ribbon-worthy sewing and needlepoint, plenty of fresh cobs of Indian corn, and vibrant gourds and squash in oranges, rusts, golds, browns and other glorious fall colors. The items were homegrown and handmade by members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Student volunteers sold the items at the fair and chatted with visitors.

Centennial Job Corps Students Support Firefighting Preparedness through Camp Crew

In the back parking lot of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), seven workers wear neon green shirts with the Camp Crew logo written across the back.

And they stand out.

They are young and their bright T-shirts contrast with those of the more seasoned personnel. As the crew works among large mounds of fire hose spread throughout the lot, it’s obvious they have one thing on their mind: meticulously preparing the hose for the next fire.

Job Corp Youth Saving America's Garden Heritage

It’s spring! And while gardeners typically scrutinize seed catalogs for what crops to plan, Boxelder Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center students are working to save America’s diverse, but endangered, garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, saving and sharing heirloom seeds.

The center, connected to the Black Hills National Forest, is one of 27 Job Corp Centers operated by the U.S. Forest Service.

Job Corps Students, Alumnae 'Pay it Forward,' Helping Each Other Learn Leadership Skills

Preparing for a career involves many steps, plus individual motivation as well as help from those who’ve gone before you.

That’s what a group of 60 Harpers Ferry Job Corps students explored recently during a recent training session related to job preparedness for the U.S. Forest Service. Their hearts and minds were focused on advancing their knowledge about Forest Service job opportunities and how to serve others but also on learning how to help themselves. They were not disappointed.

USDA Marks 50th Anniversary of the Job Corps

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Economic Opportunity Act.  This Act, part of the government effort to wipe out poverty, created the Job Corps program, which has had a positive effect on countless young lives, giving them a chance to break multi-generational cycles of poverty, get an education, and find jobs in the federal and private sectors, and in the military.  The U.S. Forest Service works closely with the Department of Labor to operate Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (Job Corps CCCs) around the country.

Last week, dignitaries including Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, and Tina Terrell, Forest Service National Director of the Job Corps, along with colleagues from the Department of Labor, came together in Washington at USDA’s Whitten Building to mark the anniversary.

Dirt, Fire and Road: My First Season as a Wildland Firefighter

For the second time, I spilled burn mix on my clothing as I reached to replace a drip torch, a wildland firefighting tool used to ignite fires for controlled burns.

After three days of working with the Davidson River Initial Attack Crew, I was getting used to how things worked – except for the drip torch.

I’d spent the first seven years of my career buried behind papers and computers in the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C. When I heard of a job to improve firefighting training skills for Job Corps students, I jumped on it. As a Job Corps alumna, and someone who’s still passionate about the program, I felt that I was the perfect candidate.

Job Corps Students Graduate to Fight Fires Across the Nation

Until recently, Thomas Barnett, formerly of Washington state, did not have a career goal in mind.

However, this spring, the 24-year-old graduated from the Centennial Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Nampa, Idaho, and will begin his career as a seasonal firefighter on a fire crew with the Idaho City Ranger District on the Boise National Forest. He said he’ll pursue a career in firefighting because it’s exciting and he enjoys helping people and communities threatened by wildfire. 

North Carolina Forest Service Job Corps Students Improve Historic Site

Each year, thousands of volunteers across the country participate in the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in America, National Public Lands Day. Students and staff of the  Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center contributed over 250 hours of service on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests as a part of this year’s efforts.

North Carolina Rivercane Studies get a boost from Oconaluftee Job Corps

In the early morning light, 15 students look for the first time at a traditional Cherokee rivercane basket and marvel at the colors and detail.

Western Carolina University’s Adam Griffith of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines passes the basket around as he explains the cultural and ecological significance of rivercane.

“Since we started the Rivercane Restoration Project in 2006, I have just gotten more and more impressed with this native plant. It knows how deep it is in the soil- how cool is that?!” he says with a grin.

South Dakota's Top Chef is Job Corps Educator Too

For the past eight years, students in the Boxelder Job Corps Center culinary arts program have benefited from chef Dave Levesque's wide-ranging cooking experiences.

Located in the Black Hills National Forest near Nemo, the Boxelder Job Corps Center has 24 students in its culinary arts curriculum, which is one of 10 different trades taught at the school.