President Obama Endorses Forest Service's Job Corps as "America's Green Job Corps"

 




Oconaluftee JCCCC Forestry Conservation students and Instructor help repair a retaining wall in trail rehabilitation work on the Cheoah Ranger District in Robbinsville. Shown (left-right) are Crystal Adu, Instructor Darrell McDaniels, Anthony Brown, and Steven Morris. (Photo courtesy of Holly Krake/OJCCCC)

From the Cherokee Feather

The new green curriculum of the Forest Service’s Job Corps will expand employment opportunities for its graduates, help revitalize local economies in rural communities and enhance the mission of the agency, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said on Friday, June 24.

“The Forest Service congratulates high school and college students far and wide who are graduating this month, and we are especially proud of our own graduates of the Forest Service Job Corps centers,” said Tidwell.

“Our students have completed valuable, hands-on projects giving them excellent tools to pursue career paths in green jobs while also creating life-long connections with America’s great outdoors.”

Recognizing the program’s efforts in green jobs training, President Obama has endorsed them as America’s Green Job Corps. At present, the Forest Service is awaiting final authorization from the Department of Agriculture for the go-ahead to directly hire Job Corps graduates to perform on land stewardship projects — a process which is expected to put hundreds of the program’s graduates to work before fall.

Locally, the Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Cherokee has implemented green training and conservation ideals across each of its training programs including Forestry Conservation and Wildland Firefighting, Office and Business Administration, and Health Occupations.

“Green training is not something we teach- it’s who we are” said Liaison Specialist for Oconaluftee, Holly Krake. “This summer we graduated over 25 students who trained on sites across the region putting these skills to use”.

Projects throughout western North Carolina include transplanting culturally significant rivercane with Western Carolina University in Cherokee, education trail construction with the Watershed Association for the Tuckasegee River in Dillsboro and trail revitalization on the Cheoah Ranger District in Robbinsville.

“Our graduates are skilled, trained, and competing well in the job market, military, and higher education. At the end of the day, Job Corps is just that- assisting our youth in getting jobs” Krake says.

The Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is associated with the National Forests of North Carolina and currently serves 68 students. The USDA Forest Service operates 28 Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers across 18 states with a capacity of 6,200 students. 

In the last 12 months the centers have graduated 4,263 students, better preparing them to enter the job market. Historically, approximately 80 percent of Job Corps graduates have started new careers, enrolled in higher education programs or have enlisted in the military.

“Forest Service Job Corps centers provide the education, vocational instruction, and job skills training necessary to obtain gainful employment and earn a living wage,” explained Tony Dixon, the National Director of Forest Service Job Corps.

“Job Corps students are making Forest Service facilities and operations sustainable, lowering its operating costs, reducing our carbon footprint, and restoring terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems,” Dixon emphasized.

The centers directly contribute to the agency’s mission of conserving the nation’s national forests and grasslands. Job Corps students have fought forest fires, planted trees, improved wildlife habitat and built or maintained recreation facilities and miles of hiking trails.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps Greens Program to Receive Recovery Funding

 

San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps just got some green to go green. The Corps is receiving $98,122 from the Department of Labor to help promote green job training. "This is going to kind of round out our program," Executive  Director Daniel Oaxaca said.   "We  are already doing construction, so we figured why not teach them to do green construction?" With the money, the program will eventually expand its YouthBuild program from serving two dozen students to 35 students. And it will build the curriculum to include green construction techniques including solar panel installation and maintenance. Learn more in theSan Gabriel Valley Tribune.

President Roosevelt Did it Then, President Obama Can Do it Now

 

"I propose to create a Civilian Conservation Corps. . . . More important, however, than the material gains will be the moral and spiritual value of such work." --Franklin D. Roosevelt March 9, 1933

In his first 100 days, President Roosevelt approved several measures as part of his New Deal, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in particular represented the new president's determination to create jobs and preserve Americans' sense of pride in their work. The CCC, also known as Roosevelt's tree army, was a second chance for thousands of unemployed young men (many of whom were in dire need of income, but also vocational and educational training).

From 1933-42, President Roosevelt's "CCC boys" dramatically improved the nation's public lands, while also receiving food, shelter, education and a precious $30-a-month stipend that literally saved many of their families from hunger in tough times. By the close of the program, there was hardly a state that had not benefited from the program, with millions of acres of federal and state land improvements, roads built, telephone lines strung and trees planted.

 

"People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem-they are the answer. We'll call on Americans to join an Energy Corps to conduct renewable energy and environmental cleanup projects in their neighborhoods." --Barack Obama July 2, 2008

Like the legendary CCC of the '30s, today's Corps are a proven strategy for giving young men and women the chance to change their communities, their own lives and those of their families through service. Carrying forward the CCC's legacy, modern Corps are often a lifeline to young people who are low-income, out-of-school, out-of-work, and looking for a second chance. But more than that, Corps are also a place for all young people to channel a drive to serve, strive toward their potential, and do meaningful work that directly impacts their communities.

If the generation that filled the ranks of the CCC were to be called the greatest generation, today's modern Corpsmembers prove that still greater things lie ahead. Unlike few before them, America's young adults are compelled to serve and motivated to meet the profound challenges of their day - namely, climate change.

Modern Service and Conservation Corps are a concrete example of the solution-driven American ethic of service President-elect Obama spoke of so eloquently.

During the campaign, President-elect Obama committed to establishing a Clean Energy Corps that would, "promote energy independence through efforts like weatherization, renewable energy projects and educational outreach...and to clean up polluted land and water, plant trees, and work for the environmental health of our nation's natural areas." He also proposed the creation of a Green Jobs Corps "for disconnected and disadvantaged youth... to provide participants with service opportunities to improve energy conservation and efficiency of homes and buildings in their communities, while also providing practical experience in important career fields of expected high-growth employment."

Service and Conservation Corps across the nation are already engaged in a wide variety of energy service and job training activities. For example, the Ohio Civilian Conservation Corps at Quilter, housed in a Community Action Agency, builds professionals through service: Corpsmembers join the CAA weatherization team after they have gained experience through service and achieved related certification.

In addition, Service and Conservation Corps are providing viable solutions to other national concerns, such as our decaying transportation and infrastructure systems, the high school drop-out crisis, and youth incarceration. Each day, Corpsmembers also combat climate change through their conservation efforts on public lands.

Across the nation, Corps stand ready to provide solutions to pressing problems and respond to national needs.

Please contact The Corps Network's Director of Government Relations, Mary Ellen Ardouny, for more details at 202.737.6272 ormardouny@corpsnetwork.org.

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