PRESQUE ISLE — The final application to place a Job Corps program at Loring Air Force was filed this week with the U.S. Department of Labor. If the application is approved, about 450 disadvantaged young people could be placed at the base after its closure.
A majority of the comments surrounding the placement of the federal program have been favorable. The state’s congressional delegation also has endorsed the application.
A decision is expected to be made by mid-March.
Earlier this week, Sen. George Mitchell and Sen. William Cohen met with federal labor officials to make the case for placing a site at Loring.
“We urged Secretary (Robert) Reich to locate a job corps center at Loring,” said a jointly issued statement from the legislators. “The facilities on the base are in excellent condition and have been designed and used for the same purposes as Job Corps intends to use them.”
Loring is one of 25 sites around the country under consideration.
The application filed this week also was endorsed by Leo Martin, Maine’s commissioner of education. Martin said that such a site would complement the state’s “new initiatives geared toward the creation of a high skills, high productivity, high quality work force…”
Martin said the Job Corps program, along with the proposed magnet school in Limestone, “will help position northern Aroostook Country as a center of educational innovation and alternative education.
“And it will also vault the State of Maine into a leadership role in yet another field: defense reconversion, recycling the tools of war to meet the needs of a time of peace,” Martin wrote.
Among the base facilities to be used by the Job Corps are a 448-person dormitory, a dining facility and an office building and a automobile repair building. A second dormitory could be used to house single parent residents and their children, that includes an on-site day-care facility.