DARBY – Hundreds of residents in the Bitterroot Valley gathered on Tuesday night to voice their support for the Trapper Creek Job Corps outside of Darby.
Trapper Creek is one of 16 Civilian Conservation Centers the Trump Administration wants to transfer from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Although hundreds showed up, there is definitely a lot of unknowns for the future of the Trapper Creek Job Corps which is slated to be transferred from the US Department of Agriculture to the Department of Labor by September and then possibly privatized.
Students, residents, Senator Jon Tester and Senator Steve Daines expressed their support for protecting the Job Corps in its current form.
The change of the 16 Job Corps sites was announced late last month and includes the closure of nine Civilian Conservation Corp locations, one of those being in Anaconda.
However, Sen. Daines announced last week he was able to convince President Donald Trump to keep the Anaconda Job Corps center open.
But the future of Trapper Creek is still not known. However, the support from students, staff and many community members was felt at the meeting.
“It’s really just saved my life in general. I came to the trapper two months out of prison. I had no marketable skill. It’s taught me career tech training skills in the welding field and I can pretty much get a job anywhere welding now,” Robert White said.
“It’s given me confidence, drive and it’s given me a fire. Honestly, everything I’ve learned at Job Corps I know will help me especially going in for interviews,” added fellow student Sindey Brown.
“I just feel like I have the confidence now that I didn’t before. I have so much more skill and knowledge that I can be successful for sure after Job Corps Brown added.
Many of the students say that the Job Corps saved them – some from an unhealthy career choice, some from drugs and alcohol issues.
Some even mentioned Trapper Creek saving them from a life of crime and there was some very emotional testimony from a few of the students on Tuesday.