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The drawdown of a United States Forest Service program through which young people can earn vocational certificates in wildland firefighting and other jobs will not impact operations at the local Bamberg Job Corps Center, officials say.

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The Trump administration announced on May 24 that it would be closing nine Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers and transfer the remaining 16 centers operated by the Forest Service to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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The centers which will be closing are located in Montana, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Virginia, Washington, Kentucky, North Carolina and Oregon. The mission of the centers is to train eligible youth ages 16 to 24 with educational, social and vocational skills, while assisting in the conservation of the nation’s public natural resources.

“The company we work for is like a private contract company that’s up under the hub of the Department of Labor. So it doesn’t affect us, per se, because the other centers are funded through the Department of Labor,” said Chris Greene, public relations director at the Bamberg Job Corps Center.

The U.S. Department of Labor will close come centers and hand over operations of others, with the drawdown of the program slated to begin in September.

Greene said the Bamberg Job Corps Center contracts with Rockledge, Florida-based Heritage Services Corporation for educational services.

“That’s the only thing that they do, is just like provide educational services for the center,” said Greene, noting that the Bamberg Job Corps Center did not receive any services through the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers.

Heritage Services Corporation describes itself on its website (http://www.hscteam.com/about-us/) as an innovative small business specializing in simplified solutions for its clients. With more than 20 years of combined experience, HSC has served the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies, as well as commercial clients throughout the U.S. and overseas. Medical services, information technology, training and logistics are its primary focus area.

HSC President Glen Bottomley said in a text message that the Bamberg Job Corps Center is not facing closure, nor are its operations being impacted.

“The only information I have heard involved the nine Forest Service programs. I will let you know of any major changes if they start happening at the Bamberg center,” Bottomley said.

Eric L.M. Jones has served as the center’s director since 2010.

The Bamberg Job Corps Center provides education and training to eligible students between the ages of 16-24 to prepare them for employment and independence so they can be placed on jobs of their choosing or go on to further their education.

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The center offers different vocations and trades as well as the GED and high school diploma program. The trades offered there include: culinary arts, office administration, welding, plumbing, carpentry, cement masonry, computer technician, material handler and distribution operations and facilities maintenance.

For more information about the Bamberg Job Corps Center, visit https://bamberg.jobcorps.gov/.

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Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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Staff Writer

Dionne Gleaton has been a staff writer with The T&D for 20 years. She has been an education reporter, regional reporter and currently writes features with an emphasis on health.

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