Tuesday, June 25th

CLOSE

Since 1964, Blackwell Job Corps Center has provided vocational training to thousands of students.(Photo: Ron Cubit)

Justine Anderson became homeless shortly after her 16th birthday. Without any support from family or friends, she felt destitute. 

Four years later, Anderson moved to Wisconsin from Texas and discovered the school that would alter the trajectory of her life. 

"I found Blackwell on a website and I just applied to see what I could do about getting in," Anderson said. "And the admissions counselor was on the spot about making sure I got in."

Located in the heart of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and near the northern Wisconsin town of Laona, Blackwell Job Corps Center is one of 25 Civilian Conservation Centers (CCCs) operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more than 50 years, Blackwell has provided free vocational training to thousands of 16- to 24-year-olds in trades ranging from carpentry to office administration. In the past six years, it has placed nearly 800 students into jobs, according to center data.