Oregon Military Department's full-time employees furloughed - KPTV - FOX 12

Half of Oregon Military Department's full-time employees furloughed

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

In Oregon alone, about one thousand federally funded employees within the state's military department were scheduled for furloughs beginning Tuesday, as a result of the government shutdown.

All operations and activities which are essential to security and safety will continue, but countless others are left in limbo, according to the Oregon Military Department.

Specialized military programs are also affected by the shutdown, including the state's STARBASE academies.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense funded and administered program with 76 sites located on military installations in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The STARBASE mission is to raise the interest and improve the knowledge and skills of at-risk youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to provide for a highly educated and skilled American workforce.

Because of the shutdown, classes were canceled at both the Portland and Klamath Falls academies. In Portland alone, organizers say they teach 40 different classes and help 1230 students.

"I feel such disappointment," said STARBASE Director Melinda Lepore.

"STARBASE exists for the kids, and our job is to educate and inspire youth. Every day that the government is shut down is a missed opportunity for educating students and planting the seeds of science, technology, engineering and math in the minds of fifth grade students."

The Oregon Military department employs 9,000 citizen soldiers, airmen and civilians, of which 2,000 are full-time employees.

Half of those full-time employees are on furlough, according to the department.

"Everyone is in tune, now more so than ever to what's going on in DC and we're just watching and waiting to see what the outcome will be," said Lepore.

The department says the longer the shutdown, the more likely there will be serious long term effects, but adds it plans to do everything possible to assist employees who find themselves in serious financial trouble due to furlough.

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