Washington Conservation Corps opens 300 environmental positions statewide

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Washington Conservation Corps members removing invasive blackberries. (Photo courtesy Washington State Department of Ecology)

The Department of Ecology has opened recruitment for 300 environmental positions across the state within the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) program.

“If you enjoy the outdoors, building new skills, and assisting communities in need—all while  protecting the environment—nothing can rival the opportunities we offer in the WCC,” said WCC Program Director Bridget”

WCC is seeking young adults age 18 to 25, as well as Gulf War Era II veterans, reservists and active duty dependents with no age restrictions.

The field-based AmeriCorps positions offer young adults and military veterans hands-on opportunities to gain experience in environmental restoration, monitoring and research, local and national disaster response services, and education projects.

Serving on small crews, WCC members engage in a variety of habitat enhancement projects, including planting native trees and shrubs along rivers and streams, and improving trails.

Prior experience is not required. WCC prioritizes member training and enrichment opportunities throughout their 11-month service terms. Members begin their new service terms on Oct. 7, 2019. To apply, visit www.ecology.wa.gov/wcc.

Talebi said WCC members also assist communities in Washington and across the country after natural disasters. For instance, on Monday, July 8, several WCC crews will depart for Iowa to help low-income, elderly and people with disabilities affected by record-setting spring floods. Members will help by stripping damaged homes down to the studs to keep dangerous mold from growing in walls, ceilings, and floorboards.

During the current 2018-19 service year, WCC members responded to flooding in three counties in Washington and to 12 wildfires across the state. In addition, dozens of members also deployed to Florida to support communities affected by Hurricane Michael, and to North and South Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence. WCC members installed tarps on damaged roofs, performed home damage assessments, and removed debris and hazardous trees from homeowners’ yards.

WCC can be a unique stepping stone for a career in environmental services, Talebi said. “Our WCC has a proven track record of helping to create future leaders through community involvement and mentorship. There are countless examples of leaders in local and state government—as well as nonprofits and the private sector—who launched their professional journeys as WCC members.”

To learn more about the variety of projects WCC members support, check out pictures and stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr.

In addition to gaining field skills, WCC members are eligible for a $6,095 AmeriCorps Education Award after completing 11 months and 1,700 hours of service. Members are also eligible for education loan forbearance and interest payments through AmeriCorps, as well as health insurance and a biweekly living allowance equivalent to the state minimum wage.

WCC AmeriCorps members join more than 70,000 AmeriCorps members serving in 21,000 locations across the nation. Members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. Since it was formed in 1994, more than a million people have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.4 billion hours of service and earning more than $3.3 billion in education scholarships.

To support the positions, Ecology received $1.9 million in AmeriCorps funding this year from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees national volunteer service programs.

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