POSTED: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 10:13pm
UPDATED: Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 3:30pm
Job Corps centers around the nation could soon close their doors to tens of thousands of at-risk American teens and young adults.
The US Department of Labor is temporarily suspending new student enrollments at Job Corps centers across the country because of budget cuts. The Department is making exceptions for applicants who are homeless, runaways, or in the foster care system.
New student enrollment is supposed to restart in July. Job Corps centers offer free academic and career technical programs for low-income 16 to 24 year olds.
About 600 students attend the David L. Carrasco Job Corps Center here in El Paso. If enrollment is permanently suspended, students won't only be forced to go elsewhere for an education and job training, 175 people will also be unemployed, and vendors will lose business.
"We all need a second chance in life, I don't care who we are, and they can get their second chance here and they can grow and blossom into a young adult," said John Crosby, the Carrasco Center's Director.
"Five years from now, I see myself not only with a job, but into college -- working for a better future for me and my daughter," said Yadira Gonzalez, a student at the Center.
The David L. Carrasco Center has served over 30,000 El Pasoans since it first opened its doors in the 70s.