Job Corps students who helped the county dig a major flood-control channel in north Davis County were honored Wednesday by the county commission.

The commissioners presented the Weber Basin Job Corps Center students, five men and two women, with a plaque and praised their work. The students are in the center's heavy-equipment instruction program.Sid Smith, county public works director, said without their donated effort, the county would not have been able to afford construction of the storm drain runoff channel for another decade.

The work done by the students on the project in Clinton is better than that done by some professional contractors the county has hired in the past, Smith said.

The center donated the work as a job-training project. The county paid for diesel fuel used by the earth-moving equipment and for a project supervisor, Smith said. He estimated their work saved the county several hundred thousand dollars.

Job Corps interim director Greg Evans estimates that student work donated to various cities in Davis County over the past decade has saved them about $12 million on construction projects.

The Weber Basin Job Corps Center, at the mouth of Weber Canyon in South Ogden, was established in 1965 and is operated by the federal government through the Bureau of Reclamation. It specializes in teaching construction skills, ranging from masonry to heavy equipment operation.

Evans said the program has changed since its inception to meet the changing needs of the construction industry. Another major change is the makeup of its student population, which Evans said will be half female by next year.

The center's job-placement rate for its graduates is better than 75 percent, Evans said, a rate that has earned the Job Corps program support and funding among congressional representatives.