GOLCONDA (WSIL) — Leaders are looking for interested parties to re-purpose and reopen the Job Corps Campus in Golconda, helping to bring jobs back to the region.
"We’ve lost people," said City Clerk Jim Suits, adding that his community experienced an economic downturn with the closure of the Job Corps Center. "And when you lose people, you lose businesses."
The Department of Labor shut down the center in 2017, citing a "negative campus culture" and a failure to correct its deficiencies.
"We’ve got houses for sale, we’ve got houses for rent," said Suits. "We lose those people, good people – and it’s really affected our economy in Golconda."
The loss of the Center cost the community as many as 60 jobs, jobs not easily replaceable in a city of 700.
"Opening that facility would do nothing but help the city of Golconda," said Suits.
Efforts are underway to re-purpose the facility for commercial, educational, or even mental health and bring jobs back to the community.
State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, is spearheading a campaign of awareness both in, and out-of-state.
"This is a facility we cannot let go to waste," said Fowler.
The campus sits on Shawnee National Forest Service property and the Forest Service said they are working towards turning it over to the General Service Administration, a federal agency which will play a role in the Center’s future.
"I’m going to do everything I can as a state senator representing this facility to exhaust all available options to market this facility throughout the nation if that’s what it takes," said Fowler.
Golconda’s city clerk said the city would also like a role in determining the Center’s future, but they also just want to see life there again.
"Anything that goes in out there will positively affect the city of Golconda."