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      Job Corps enrollment freeze could end soon

      The enrollment freeze at Job Corps centers across the country may be lifted.

      Nothing has been confirmed as of yet, but rumors that the freeze will be lifted as soon as the end of April has made officials in Iowa hopeful.

      The freeze took effect in January and prevents centers like the one in Ottumwa from being at full capacity in order to cut back on funding.

      "My understanding is that even when the freeze is lifted, that still the capacity for the Job Corps in Ottumwa will not reach... Clearly, if we can get 300 people in there, which is capacity, that would be the right thing to do, but we'll see how the budget process unfolds," said Congressman Dave Loebsack. "I was disappointed in the freeze, but I'm happy that they are going to be lifting the freeze. But we've got to make sure that we get enough money in the budget to make sure that there's full enrollment."

      Congressman Loebsack was in Ottumwa in March, discussing with education leaders the importance of our Job Corps center.

      Another law maker, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, met with Job Corps students and staff to ask and answer questions. Senator Grassley told KTVO then that he was not pleased with the way the Department of Labor has handled the issue, and that an enrollment freeze prevented making use of the investments in the Job Corps program.

      Senator Tom Harkin released a statement to KTVO Tuesday saying, "as a long-time supporter of Job Corps, I'm encouraged that the U.S. Department of Labor appears on track to begin re-enrollment because the program is so important for at-risk youth in Iowa and across the country."