"The Forest Service congratulates high school and college students far and wide...and we are especially proud of our own graduates of the Forest Service Job Corps centers. Our students have completed valuable, hands-on projects giving them excellent tools to pursue career paths in green jobs while also creating life-long connections with America’s great outdoors.”
The Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Cherokee, North Carolina has implemented training and conservation ideals across each of its training programs including Forestry Conservation and Wildland Firefighting, Office and Business Administration, and Health Occupations. Projects throughout western North Carolina include transplanting culturally significant rivercane with Western Carolina University in Cherokee, education trail construction with the Watershed Association for the Tuckasegee River in Dillsboro and trail revitalization on the Cheoah Ranger District in Robbinsville.
The Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is associated with the National Forests of North Carolina and currently serves 68 students. The USDA Forest Service operates 28 Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers across 18 states with a capacity of 6,200 students.
The centers directly contribute to the agency’s mission of conserving the nation’s national forests and grasslands. Job Corps students have fought forest fires, planted trees, improved wildlife habitat and built or maintained recreation facilities and miles of hiking trails. In the last 12 months the centers have graduated 4,263 students, better preparing them to enter the job market. Historically, approximately 80 percent of Job Corps graduates have started new careers, enrolled in higher education programs or have enlisted in the military. Job Corps students are making Forest Service facilities and operations sustainable, lowering its operating costs, reducing our carbon footprint, and restoring terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. (Cherokee One Feather, 6/11/2011)