Prove your humanity

This story comes from WVIA News.

Crew members in the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps tackle construction projects, trail maintenance and other jobs at outdoor areas across the state.

The corps members — ages 15 to 25 — learn conflict resolution and problem solving skills.

“It can be really transformative for a young person to go through,” said Michael Piaskowski, manager of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps.

The program is run through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The state office is now hiring young adult crew members – ages 18 to 25 – in nine areas across the state, including Pittsburgh, Somerset and Meadville. The members are paid $15 an hour with benefits and transportation. They’re also hiring for the summer youth crew, which is for those ages 15 to 18.

“Our work primarily takes place in Pennsylvania State Parks and state forests, but we also do work with community partners, municipalities, land trusts and other organizations that hold and manage land that’s open to the public,” said Piaskowski.

The corps began in 2016. It started with five youth crews across the state and quickly expanded.

“It was a challenge by the governor … to involve the youth workforce and DCNR kind of looked to its history and the history of public land stewardship,” he said.

The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps is modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The voluntary government work relief program ran from 1933 to 1942. The program was created from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and put young men to work across the country. Pennsylvania had the second most camps for CCC members — 151. World War II ended the program. The current day corps is also modeled after the state’s more modern-era programs like the Youth Conservation Corps and the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps.

“We had a history of involving youth in a conservation workforce,” said Piaskowski.

The members don’t have to necessarily be interested in the outdoors to benefit from the program. The program provides young people with the knowledge and expertise to be good stewards of our natural resources, according to the state.

“We help people to understand that you’re just not out there planting trees, if you’re involved in conservation, there are so many other jobs and so many other ways to participate,” he said.

For more details to to apply, visit https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/outdoorcorps/Pages/default.aspx

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