Washington Conservation Corps seeks members

August 15, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 15, 2011

The state Department of Ecology needs 245 people between 18 and 25 to plant native shrubs and trees, restore salmon-bearing streams, respond to emergencies and more.

The agency is seeking applicants to the Washington Conservation Corps, a program to put young adults, including military veterans, on the job at projects in 16 counties statewide.

For the 2011-12 service year, the Department of Ecology intends to hire 150 Washington Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members using a $2 million AmeriCorps grant from the state Commission for National and Community Service.

AmeriCorps Education Awards received through the Corps Network, a national service partner, support the remaining positions.

Potential applicants can complete the application process at the state agency’s website.

AmeriCorps members sign on for a year of service from October to September 2012. Members work on environmental and community service projects, as well as disaster response.

Members earn $8.67 an hour and receive a $5,550 AmeriCorps education award upon completing the service year. The award may be used for student loans or future tuition expenses.

The state created the Washington Conservation Corps in 1983 to provide jobs and work training for about 1,600 young adults. In 1994, the program started received federal AmeriCorps funding, allowing crews to carry out on-the-ground projects across the state.

In the past year, Washington Conservation Corps members restored streams and built trails in the Issaquah area.

“In a tight economy, the WCC is making a critical difference for our young adults, our communities and environment,” Washington Conservation Corps official Nick Mott said in a news release. “By providing practical job experience and critical professional training, more than half of our members continue on to full-time employment or go on to further their education.”

State lawmakers recently created the Washington Conservation Corps Puget Sound Corps as a partnership between the Department of Ecology and the state Department of Natural Resources. T

he legislation calls for the Puget Sound Corps to support the Puget Sound Partnership’s agenda to restore, protect and preserve the sound by 2020. The official rollout of the Puget Sound Corps is due to occur soon.

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