PUXICO, Mo. -- People interested in learning a new trade once again will have Mingo Job Corps as an option, effective immediately.
In January, the U.S. Department of Labor placed an enrollment freeze on the Job Corps across the nation in response to an estimated $60 million shortfall for the federal job-training program.
The program encountered two consecutive budget deficits after the labor department moved the program's budgeting and procurement operations from the Office of Job Corps to the Employment and Training Division.
The Mingo center, which typically houses a maximum of 224 students, has seen its numbers steadily decrease since the admission freeze took place.
For the first time since January, the center near Puxico enrolled four students Tuesday, according to Tim Aslin, business and community liaison at Mingo Job Corps.
In a normal year, the school would accept seven to 10 new students every other week. The hope for the future is to be able to bring in approximately seven per week until their numbers are closer to where they belong.
Mingo Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is a residential vocational and educational training program serving students ages 16 to 24, located near Puxico. In addition to seven vocational trades, Mingo Job Corps offers GED or high school attainment, driver's education and basic health care all at no cost to the student.
Because classes are considered "rolling" at the residential education facility, students graduate and are admitted throughout the year.
Aslin said students are allowed up to two years to complete their program, but the average stay is approximately 14 months.
The students at Mingo are required to apply and be accepted. They also must have no felony convictions or outstanding criminal charges.
During their stay, students become involved in community oriented programs.
"Many local nonprofit groups benefit from the efforts of our students. Our students volunteer a great deal of time to local public events from parking cars at the Stoddard County Fair to assisting the handicapped participate in fishing programs at Lake Wappapello," Aslin said.
Their efforts also have stretched throughout the country when they travel to aid with hurricane recovery. They also have a wildfire crew that was sent around the country to work on large-scale fires.
While the fire crew has thinned, Aslin said they hope to build the program back up with increased enrollment.
The Mingo facility was built in the mid-1960s, shortly after President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the order creating the program. It was developed as part of Johnson's "war on poverty."
The U.S. Forest Service operates 28 Job Corps facilities in the United States. The remaining facilities are operated by private contractors.
Job Corps centers began a new program year on July 1 and are accepting applications.
Job Corps students can receive hands-on training in more than 100 career fields, such as construction, business and finance, health care and information technology. The program also provides eligible, low-income students with room and board, counseling and mentoring services, living allowances and basic medical care.
Students also can participate in on-the-job training at real work sites through work-based learning opportunities.
For more information, call 573-222-3537 or visit jobcorps.gov.