SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Cascades Job Corps will restart classes this fall after the U.S. Department of Labor and Industries chose a new vendor to run its pilot program focusing on health care and information technology training.

The job training site for disenfranchised youths has been vacant since December as the department reviewed applications for pilot program vendors. It’ll be the only program of its kind in the country, with its philosophy rooted in Vice President Joe Biden’s push to prepare works for available jobs, according to a news release.

The IT and health care training programs will emphasize preparing students for college enrollment, according to the release. It’ll enroll 300 students ages 16 to 21. Students can stay at the site for up to three years, one year longer than traditional Job Corps sites.

Adams & Associates, based in Reno, Nevada, was awarded the contract June 6. The contract, which started Thursday, includes outreach and running the training program and residence halls. The company operates 17 Job Corps sites in the country, according to the release.

The Sedro-Woolley School District will operate the training programs in conjunction with Adams & Associates, just as it did with the previous vendor.

Superintendent Phil Brockman said the district is ready to move forward in partnership.

“We’ve been working all year long, putting the program together so that when Job Corps did name (a vendor), we could plug right in,” Brockman said.

District staff who worked at Cascades Job Corps and were moved to other schools during the transition will be returned to their positions, he said.

One new thing, from the district’s standpoint, is that it hopes to give Job Corps students access to the Northwest Career and Technical Academy, which is operated by a consortium of six Skagit County and two Whatcom County superintendents as well as Skagit Valley College President Tom Keegan.

Cascades Job Corps was chosen for the pilot program because of its high performance and because the former vendor contract expired, said a Labor and Industries official.

Cascades Job Corps, formerly run by Management and Training Corp., used to have high school diploma and GED programs for disenfranchised youths. It also had various job training programs for trades such as carpentry, masonry and food services.

If the pilot program is successful, it could start accepting students nationwide. The program will first accept students from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, according to the release.

— Reporter Aaron Weinberg: 360-416-2145, aweinberg@skagitpublishing.com, Facebook.com/byaaronweinberg

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