Four Service and Conservation Corps Programs First to Obtain New Accreditation

For Immediate Release                                                                                        
November 25, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After meeting newly established standards during a rigorous evaluation process, four organizations that operate high-quality Service and Conservation Corps programs have been recognized by the Corps Center of Excellence as the first accredited Corps programs. The Corps Network announced the new accreditation process last year, after piloting a provisional accreditation program. The accreditation replaces The Corps Network’s earlier and less robust Excellence in Corps Operations (ECO) certification.

The accredited programs include

  • Alaska’s Anchorage Park Foundation’s Youth Employment Program that in partnership with the Municipality of Anchorage’s Parks and Recreation Department employs youth to gain experience with local park construction and stewardship.
     
  • Oakland, California’s CiviCorps, a program that enrolls East Bay’s highest risk young adults to ensure they earn their high school diplomas, gain job skills through community service projects, and have the opportunity to be eligible for interships that lead to fulfilling careers.
     
  • LA Conservation Corps, the nation’s largest urban Corps that prepares LA’s at-risk youth for postsecondary education and living wage jobs, and inspires them to change themselves, their communities, and the world.
     
  • Grand Junction, Colorado’s Western Colorado Conservation Corps, that serves youth ages 16-25 by providing work, training, education, scholarships, & life skills to succeed in the conservation industry and beyond.

The Corps Network’s Accreditation Process involves an in-depth review of general operations, financial management, risk management, governance standards, and Corps operations. The process culiminates in a site visit conducted by peer reviewers who have the chance to observe and share innovative ideas, lessons learned, and best practices. By completing the accreditation process, Corps demonstrate their accountability to both Corpsmembers and their communities. Preparing for the accreditation process also affords Corps the opportunity to review and implement policies that will help streamline their operations and lead to more effective programs.  

The Corps Center of Excellence is administered by an Advisory Committee made up of retired and former Conservation Corps leaders, retired and former federal land management agency staff, and other experts. Their expertise and the newly developed accreditation standards provide the assurance of quality that partners look for, particularily among publically-funded government agencies. They also indicate a Corps’ ability to provide safe, appropriate, meaningful experiences for young people who complete service projects that meet community and conservation needs.

“It’s exciting that Corps programs will now be able to say that they are accredited,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO of The Corps Network. “Demonstrating that you meet industry standards is an important marketing tool that let’s potential partners and stakeholders understand that your program produces high-quality outcomes. It shows that Corps programs are an excellent investment that benefits both the young people they serve and their communities.”

Ira Okun, Chair of the CCE oversight committee, said “Accreditation ensures that Corps are committed to the highest principles of quality, service, and integrity.” 

For more information about The Corps Network’s accreditation program, please visit The Corps Network’s website.

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network provides critical leadership to the Corps movement and our nation’s Service and Conservation Corps as they harness the power of youth and young adults to tackle some of America’s greatest challenges and transform their own lives. Our 100+ members operate in all states and the District of Columbia. Each year they collectively enroll approximately 26,000 Corpsmembers from ages 16-25. Corps are comprehensive youth development programs that provide their participants with job training, academic programming, leadership skills, and additional support through a strategy of service that improves communities and the environment. Learn more at www.corpsnetwork.org

Media Contact:

Levi Novey, Director of Communications & Marketing
The Corps Network
1100 G Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.737.6272
Email: lnovey@corpsnetwork.org