DENVER (AP) — A longstanding U.S. Forest Service job training center for rural youth in western Colorado will be taken over by a private contractor.

Colorado Public Radio reports the Collbran Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center has been told its 46 employees will lose their jobs at an undetermined date.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also is closing several other Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers nationwide, drawing protests from members of Congress, including Colorado's delegation.

Lawmakers say it's a bad idea to close the centers, especially in the West, where trainees help the Forest Service fight wildfires.

The Collbran center has operated for more than 50 years.