The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday that it has instituted a nearly monthlong spring break for students at the 121 Job Corps centers located in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including the San Diego center in Imperial Beach, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In light of the COVID-19 public health emergency and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the department is acting to protect the health and safety of its tens of thousands of students and staff across the country. There is no evidence of any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any Job Corps center at this time,” according to a statement issued by the Department of Labor.

Job Corps, the largest nationwide residential career training program in the country, helps eligible young people ages 16 through 24 complete their high school education, trains them for careers and assists them with obtaining employment.

At Job Corps, students have access to room and board while they learn skills in specific training areas for up to three years. In addition to helping students complete their education, obtain career technical skills and land jobs, Job Corps provides transitional support services, such as housing, child care, and transportation.

Graduates of the program, which was started in 1964, either enter the workforce or an apprenticeship, go on to higher education or join the military.

In addition to the Imperial Beach location at 1325 Iris Ave., there are three other Job Corps centers in Southern California — in Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Bernardino.

The spring break went into effect Monday and will run through April 14, but may be extended According to the Department of Labor, center operators are providing students with either transportation home or alternate living arrangements — including housing and food — for any student without a current residence to which to return.

As with the traditional winter break, some staff may continue onsite for facilities maintenance or staff development and enrichment activities.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to the overall success of the Job Corps program and student safety is key to that commitment,” said John Pallasch, Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training. “This spring break not only provides clarity for students, their families and center staff, but also allows Job Corps maximum flexibility to respond to this evolving national emergency.”

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