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New Northlands head pledges close ties with city

VERGENNES — New Northlands Job Corps Center Director Michael Dooley introduced himself to the Vergennes City Council at the board’s Tuesday meeting. He became the latest Northlands head to pledge closer ties to its host city.
Dooley said since Education and Training Resources, a Kentucky firm, installed him as director last month he has “definitely been making sure the corporation is fully integrated into the community.”
His promise of closer cooperation with city police has been fulfilled to this point, according to Police Chief George Merkel, who has reported better working relations with the center’s new management.
Dooley acknowledged disciplinary incidents remain “a little high,” but said Northlands students in subjects such as welding, construction trades, urban forestry and medical assisting have fared well. Northlands is now fourth among the roughly 120 Job Corps centers in student job placement and average wage earning, he said, and one-third of its students are now Vermonters.
“The teaching we provide is good for your community,” he said, also noting student volunteer work in Vergennes and surrounding towns.
Dooley, who said he bought a home in New Haven, also stated Northlands is now the city’s second-largest employer and pays $5 million in annual wages, some of which are spent locally, and that the center tries to purchase from local businesses.
“We’re trying to source everything as locally as possible,” he said. “This place is a benefit.”

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