Atterbury Job Corps editorial for Jan. 28

Daily Journal

Fifty years ago this month, the federal government designated the Camp Atterbury area as the site for a Job Corps program, part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society anti-poverty effort.

In that half-century, the program has trained thousands of young people and is going strong.

The Atterbury Job Corps Center is one of the nation’s original Job Corps centers and is located on the historical site of what was at one time the world’s largest hospital, Wakeman General Hospital. When the center opened, classes and student housing were in the warren of medical buildings that comprised the hospital. Trades were taught in former Army warehouses and workshops.

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Some of the original buildings remain, but almost all buildings used by Job Corps are much newer. The center has two dorms, an academic building and a wellness center located amid the dorms and adjacent to the campus café.

The center houses 550 residential students in five on-campus dorms and offers career technical training in 14 career areas, such as building trades and culinary arts, as well as a high school diploma equivalency program, online high school diploma, career success standards, student government, and leadership and military careers preparation programs.

The center is located across the road from the still active military portion of Camp Atterbury.

In addition to their classroom and workshop lessons, Job Corps students are involved in the community. For example, for the past several years, students have helped with the restoration of the Artcraft Theatre in Franklin and two houses purchased by Franklin Heritage, the theater’s owner.

Students also have volunteered during the annual United Way Day of Caring.

The Job Corps’ mission has been to offer academic and skills training to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It plays a valuable role in the social safety net.

We celebrate this half-century milestone in the history of the Atterbury Job Corps Center and look forward to its continued success.

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Job prospects can be limited for many disadvantaged youths.

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For 50 years, the Atterbury Job Corps Center has been helping young people improve their lives.