Recently, 15 members of the S.E. Central Iowa AARP Chapter from Ottumwa visited the Ottumwa Job Corps Center. Arrangements for this visit were made through the Center's Business and Community Liaison.
We were met by Dave Humburg and Malia Lloyd, who spent some time telling us about the Job Corps Program and answering questions from the group. After the orientation, Dave and Malia escorted us through the buildings of the center. We visited classrooms and training sites, the dorms, the recreation building and the cafeteria. During the tour, we were encouraged to visit with the trainees and instructors.
The physical aspect of the Ottumwa Job Corps Center is a real asset to the Wapello County area. The construction of the buildings is quality; the classrooms and training centers are well equipped; and the area was well-cared-for. We understood that the trainees participate in the maintenance and care of the center through a work program.
The thing that most impressed me was the attitude of the trainees. All of the trainees that we met are taught the life skills that will be required as they join the work environment; whether we met them in passing or visited one-on-one with them, they were all very courteous to us. Those who presented their programs were knowledgeable and eager to tell us about their courses. Everyone who completes the training will leave with the skills and certifications that are needed to enter the workforce. The placement rate of these trainees is extremely high.
This is one area — overseen by the Department of Labor — that shows where our tax money has been used successfully. The cost of this program will be returned to our treasury many times over by the taxes that will be paid by these future employed citizens. This is a successful “pay it forward” endeavor.
I encourage everyone who is interested to arrange a visit to this asset in our community. And, I encourage people to contact our U.S. representatives and senators to remind them of the value and difference our tax dollars make in the lives of young adults through the Job Corps program.
S.E. Central Iowa AARP Chapter