Job corps director expects to build on top rankings

Nov 8, 2016 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

The local center was No. 1 in three areas when compared to 127 other facilities.

In the first year of its existence, the Wind River Job Corps had the best rankings among its counterparts for average wages and placements for graduates and enrollees.

"I credit that to the relationships students have formed with the staff," center director Julie Gassner said. "That's been constant throughout their training with us."

The WRJCC held its first graduation in June, so the rankings, which were based on performance during the 2016 fiscal year, come from a small sample size. But Gassner said the success so far is no fluke, and as her staff continues to build relationships with potential employers, she only expects to improve in the three areas in which the WRJCC was ranked No. 1 out of 127 centers measured.

The WRJCC has benefited from much attention from the community in its first year, and Gassner said she's working to make sure the same opportunities are available to future students even after the honeymoon period fades.

"From day one to the last day any Job Corps center is open, (students) deserve the same fair equal playing field," she said. "They deserve the same attention."

Report card

Rankings mean more for Job Corps centers than bragging points. Once August 2017 rolls around, these rankings will be used to judge the WRJCC on its "report card."

The Department of Labor watches centers' performance carefully; centers that start falling behind become prone to outside micro-managing and can even be threatened with reduced funding.

"I believe this sets a foundation for us to be a top performing center once we are on the official report card," Gassner said.

Along with the success in post-graduation placement, Gassner's center was also ranked 24th for number of students finishing high school and 19th for total credentials earned.

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