More than 20 years ago, community leaders put their heads together to come up with a new use for a plot of land in northwest Minot after the old John Moses Veterans Hospital was closed.
From those early talks and lobbying of Congress, the Quentin Burdick Job Corps Center was eventually born.
On Monday, Burdick Job Corps Center staff and students gathered on the front lawn to celebrate the building's 20th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the National Job Corps Program.
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Quentin Burdick Job Corps Center Director Curtis Shepard cut the ribbon during a ceremony in celebration of the Job Corps Center’s 20th anniversary in Minot.
Job Corps students held a school supply drive that resulted in nine boxes full of about 3,000 items that were donated to the Minot Area Homeless Coalition on Monday.
Job Corps students hold signs in support of the center’s 20th anniversary during a ceremony on Monday.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., recalled the excitement when the building first opened.
"I can't think of anything better we could have gotten than this Job Corps Center," he said.
Hoeven said the graduates of the Center will receive the training they need to better their lives and the lives of their families and help to fill some of the thousands of jobs that remain open across the state.
The fastest-growing state in the nation needs well-trained, hardworking and disciplined young people to fill those jobs, he said.
Hoeven suggested that some of the unrest going around in various parts of the world might be eliminated if more young people had good jobs and had families to support.
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he has worked as a teacher and can't think of a better educational mission than that provided by the Job Corps Center.
He told the students that their community will need them.
Current Center Director Curtis Shepard said the celebration is an exciting time for the Job Corps Center.
"The staff and students are all very excited to be able to show off the skills they have learned at Job Corps," said Shepard. "It is also important that we provide an opportunity to show the community all the great things that are going on at our center.
Job Corps provides hands-on training in more than 100 career technical areas ranging from automotive and machine repair to information technology and renewable resources. The programs are aligned with industry credentials and include work-based learning.
Career training areas at Burdick Job Corps include nursing assistance/home health, culinary arts, carpentry and welding.
The Job Corps Program was launched in 1964 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. It provides technical training and education for low-income young people ages 16 to 24. There are 125 centers across the country.