CLEARFIELD — The U.S. Department of Labor informed the Clearfield Jobs Corps Thursday that it will not be cutting enrollment capacity there by 534 as had been previously announced.
The reversal will keep the center fully operative in the short term, but a nationally applied freeze on new enrollments may still put the facility's future in limbo.
The Department of Labor initially planned on making severe enrollment cuts in seven locations across the country, including Clearfield. However, the recent announcement nixed plans for those cuts and instead will freeze enrollment at all 125 U.S. Job Corps centers from Jan. 28 through June 30, said Issa Arnita, spokesman for the Management and Training Corporation, which operates the Clearfield Job Corps.
Arnita said he hopes enrollment levels will rise enough after the freeze to make up the difference but he's unsure that will be the case.
"It's still not an ideal situation," Arnita said. "It's really unprecedented. It could end up better for our facility or worse for our facility, we don't know yet for sure. "
The Clearfield Job Corps currently provides education and job training for 1,057 16- to 24-year-olds with poor economic backgrounds. It is one of the largest such centers in the country and one of just two in the state, the other being located in Ogden.
"Not only is the Job Corps an employer that adds to the economy here but it's also an educational facility that helps so many young people to be gainfully employed," said Clearfield assistant city manager J. J. Allen, reacting to the change. "It's a program that's a big part of our community, and anything at all that would reduce that positive influence is not a good move."
Arnita said the uncertainty has him worried for the thousands of youth that will be affected by the change.
"There are alternative ways to get around this funding problem that would be less impactful to students," he said.
The Clearfield Job Corps currently ranks 28th nationally in overall student performance.