WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) today called on the U.S. Department of Labor to reverse its decision to freeze enrollment at America’s Job Corps centers. The Labor Department suspended new enrollment on January 28th, citing cost overruns.

“The Department of Labor should end this arbitrary enrollment freeze, and do it right now. This enrollment freeze hurts some of the most vulnerable kids in Connecticut—400 in our state, along with tens of thousands more throughout the country. I’ve spoken with leaders from Connecticut’s Job Corps centers—some of the highest performing centers in the country—and rather than an across the board freeze that hurts our students, the Department should pursue a more strategic center-by-center approach to achieve the necessary cost savings,” said Murphy. “The Department of Labor has already acknowledged that they’ve mismanaged this program—the kids who rely on it shouldn’t be punished for that. I hope the Department will do the right thing and reverse this decision. This enrollment freeze is already affecting these communities and it would be a terrible mistake to continue to cut off such a critical lifeline for so many students who need it.”

“The New Haven and Harford Jobs Corps centers are among the best in the nation at providing opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable youth to secure employment opportunities and is a particularly critical program during these difficult economic times,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “I continue to believe that rather than a broad freeze there is a better approach to the challenges facing the program and will continue to fight as the senior Democrat on the Committee that funds the Department of Labor to get the program the funding it needs so that our centers can continue to serve as many students in our communities as possible.”

In January, Murphy and DeLauro led the Connecticut congressional delegation in sending a letter to the Department of Labor, expressing serious concerns about the department’s announcement of the enrollment freeze.

Started in 1964, Job Corps is an education and training program that helps young people learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep a good job. For eligible young people at least 16 years of age that qualify as low income, Job Corps provides the all-around skills needed to succeed in a career and in life.