Job Corps cuts off students' access to city

Jul 16, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

The Wind River Job Corps has moved to a "closed campus" policy, which will not allow students to leave campus during the school week.

Previously, students were simply required to be back on campus by 8 p.m.

The center also has ended its support of a weekend shuttle service through the Wind River Transportation Agency, a decision that student Jess Bartle said has caused anger and confusion.

"Many who used to get off campus from time to time to get relief from feeling a lack of freedom will have fewer opportunities to do so now," Bartle wrote in a student newsletter.

"Some others are worried about a decrease in campus safety, as people feeling trapped on campus could create an increase in the amount of zero-tolerance incidents and AWOLS on center."

In a Thursday memo to the center's community relations council, director Julie Gassner said the change came at the request of the Dallas regional office, which asked all centers under its control to close campuses "to ensure our students stay safe."

"Data suggested that the majority of negative incidents occurred when students were unsupervised and off campus. Wind River stats were no different," Gassner said.

Apology letter

Almost 150 students signed an apology letter last month directed at Fremont County for the negative reputations students have developed while recreating in Riverton.

"Our negative behaviors of late have taken a toll on those in our community whose trust we are striving to regain as well as on our staff who work tirelessly to see us achieve our goals on a daily basis," the letter said.

"As Job Corps students, we have made mistakes that we are in the process of correcting."

The students vowed to increase their community service as they work for the "forgiveness" of Fremont County.

Under the new closed campus system, students will earn the right for "weekend passes" and other incentives by completing certain hours of community service.

At the behest of Dallas, the Wind River Job Corps is also cracking down on "unauthorized absences," which result in automatic terminations from the program.

Under the new system, the amount of time that constitutes an unauthorized absence has been cut in half.

As of July 1, Wind River Job Corps has become "tobacco tolerant" and will allow smoking in designated areas and during specific times.

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