Loring Job Corps Center- Limestone, ME
The Job Corps is probably the institution most under rated by the general public, in the whole Aroostook County region. Contrary to old images of being a place for “troubled youths” the modern Loring Job Corps Center is a well run institution where up to 301 students can live and get an education not only in “book learning” but also in a skill that will allow them to earn a solid living as they go forward in life. One other important aspect of the what the Job Corps does is that it teaches students social skills to prepare them for a normal life. A great story about current events at the Loring Job Corps is that in 2016/17 three students who had completed their high school education were taking carpentry to learn a trade. As part of this training these young men were sent to Aroostook Truss Company to train as interns. Their work was so good that they were offered full time jobs at the company after they graduated and the company also found them a place to live. Here’s the best part of the story: these young men were not from Northern Maine. They are now and it’s a great to have them here and we can thank a forward thinking company like Aroostook Truss for allowing interns to work there. It speaks to the character of the owners of the company and we are proud to share this story. A couple more notes about the Job Corps. It employs people from the region who train students in skills that can be used right here in the County so it’s an important regional employer. The Loring Job Corps, under its current management, has improved its ranking over the past 20 years in the 125 Job Corp centers in the USA from #108 to 60 to 40 over the past 20 years to #19 this year. It earned that distinction by following a policy of Continuous Improvement in its practices and of particular note by following its students after graduation. The Loring Job Corp takes keeping track of its graduates seriously and does it better than a majority of the centers in the country.
Furthermore, the Job Corps is open to all young people up to 24 yrs old and is open to veterans of all ages that are 30% or more disabled. After being at war for over 16 years in the Middle East there are a large number of veterans who went straight into the military after high school who need a trade to earn a decent living. The United Veterans of Maine (UVOM) is working with the US Department of Labor to get veterans of all ages into Job Corps. Many current members of the military enlisted right after high school and didn’t have time to learn a “civilian skill”. The Job Corps education, skill training, room and board are free and provide a solid foundation for young people to get ready for the real world where they can find work in a useful trade and even continue their education at one of the educational institutions in place now like the Northern Maine Community College or the campuses of University of Maine in Presque Isle and Fort Kent.. At UVOM we are working on a campaign to keep these students here in Aroostook County as part of our campaign to repopulate the region and are strongly recommending the Loring Job Corps as a choice for returning veterans up to 24 and hopefully veterans of all ages in the future.
By Dennis McCartney
Business Director, United Veterans of Maine