The community service work performed by participants in the Job Corps is providing a way for those in the program to write a paycheck to the taxpayers that support them and feel good about it, says a corps official.
At Weber Basin Jobs Corps, one of two centers Utah, learning a trade may not just mean attending classes but laying brick for restrooms at a local park or digging a firebreak. Center Director Don Temple estimates that between $500,000 and $750,000 worth of labor is donated by corps members each year to area communities."Our training concept is that we would rather have on-the-job training on real live construction projects. It has a lot of value for them (the students) because they can see something built from start to finish." Temple said. "We only do the kind of project that would not get done unless we do it. It is a way for Jobs Corps to give a direct payback to taxpayers that support our programs."
He compares the objective of Job Corps to the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.
Among the most recent projects undertaken by center students is assisting in construction of the Mountain West Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City.
"They have given us about $150,000 in labor," said Robert L. Springmeyer Jr., chairman of the Ronald McDonald House board. "We wouldn't have a Ronald McDonald House if if wasn't for them. It's good for the Job Corps and it's good for the kids."
The Mountain West Ronald McDonald House will hold grand opening ceremonies Saturday at 10 a.m. The 16-bedroom house will be open for public tours Saturday and Sunday prior to occupancy by families.
Springmeyer also praised the work of the Utah building trade unions who have donated material and personnel. The trade unions, who also sponsor training at Weber Basin Job Corps Center, have supervised the work of the Job Corps students including masonry and painting work.
"Our first objective is to train these young folks who would never be employable to be employable. Our second objective, which a lot of people don't understand, is to be a public service. We are a public service program to deliver something back to the taxpayers," Temple said.
He said many of the projects also involve other volunteer labor that gives the students great exposure and teaches a sense of community.
"To come together with others and work together has immeasurable effects," Temple said.
Other projects in which the students have participated include building fire rings for Forest Service campgrounds, constructing an addition to a Forest Service warehouse in Huntsville, helping on the Ogden River Parkway, digging a two-mile canal in Clinton and participating on work at an amphitheater at Weber State College.