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Local News

September 16, 2013

City officials push to renew Job Corps contract

ETR doesn't qualify to retain 'small business' designation

(Continued)

Meanwhile, Oneonta’s mayor and several business leaders said they have written to New York’s senators in support of measures that would allow ETR to participate in the next round of bidding to identify a Job Corps operator. They point to improvements at the facility and the positive involvement of the center and its students in the community.

In 2010, the Oneonta Job Corps was No. 119 among the nation’s approximately 125 centers, according to the agency’s outcome measurement system of admissions, vocational and placement results and other factors. According to the most recent OMS report for Sept. 1, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2013, the center ranked No. 51.

Mayor Dick Miller said in an Aug. 20 letter to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer that the Workforce Investment Act, if unamended, would preclude ETR from oversight of the local Job Corps Academy.

Miller said he has observed the transitions of Job Corps management and the impact on the community during the past 10 years.

“The current director, Christopher Kuhn, who is part of the ETR team, has taken Jobs Corps to an entirely new and higher level of community credibility and contribution,” Miller said in his letter. 

“The city uses ETR’s Job Corps students in a myriad of ways which contribute to our quality of life and reduce our costs,” Miller said. “Change in management companies and the executive director operating the center could not have anything but a deleterious effect on the contributions being made by the center to the city.”

Gary Herzig, chief operations officer at Opportunities for Otsego, said he has written Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in support of ETR.

“ETR has done an outstanding job in operating the Oneotna Job Corps Center,” Herzig, a former director of the Oneonta Job Corps for seven years. 

Students have been involved with community projects, including responses to help in recovery from tropical storms Irene and Lee, he said, and more importantly, they have completed educational and vocational training at higher rates under ETR’s management.

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