Lawmakers overlook bumpy year

Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) both said they were inspired to support the Job Corps after seeing centers in their states help turn around the lives of numerous troubled teens.

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“To me, it’s like saluting motherhood and apple pie,” said Pomeroy, who has paid several visits to the Quentin N. Burdick Job Corps Center in Minot, N.D. “I love this program.”

His support comes despite a Labor Department Inspector General March 2009 audit that found the program was not complying fully with federal laws requiring it to submit annual reports to Congress.

A department spokesman wrote in an e-mail that Job Corps does publish all required information, but in multiple formats.

The program also has a leadership vacuum after Labor Secretary Hilda Solis reassigned national director Esther Johnson in August, explaining that she wanted new leadership at Job Corps. Solis has yet to appoint a permanent replacement.

The spokesman wrote that the department will undertake a national search for a replacement.

Pomeroy said he had no knowledge of these developments, but Moran said he has “encouraged” the Labor Department both to comply with congressional reporting laws and not to waste time finding a new director.

He otherwise echoed Pomeroy’s compliments of Job Corps. Moran will have a “young Kansan” shadow him Wednesday as part of the program’s 45th anniversary celebration on Capitol Hill.

“I just recognize that so many young people today face so many challenges,” he said, “and Job Corps seems to be an effective tool in improving the chances that they can succeed in life.”