Conservation Corps North Bay was founded in 1982 as America’s first local nonprofit youth conservation corps. Its mission is to develop youth and conserve natural resources for a resilient, sustainable and equitable community.
In a year that has presented numerous challenges that will likely evolve over time, CCNB has maintained a consistent level of paid job training and career counseling services for hundreds of corpsmembers while preserving and protecting local recreational spaces and neighborhoods.
CCNB’s corpsmembers primarily reside in underserved North Bay communities, with some commuting from Richmond, Oakland and Vallejo. Many of its corpsmembers face intergenerational precedents of poverty and educational underperformance.
A $10,000 grant from Giving Marin Community Partnership in early 2020 enabled CCNB to help young people ages 18 to 25 overcome these challenges by obtaining the job skills, academic credentials, career counseling and support services needed to secure and thrive in living wage employment. Corpsmembers participate for six to 12 months and receive the following comprehensive services: individualized support from staff who map out classes, vocational training, educational certificates, degrees or licenses needed to meet chosen career paths; work experience where corpsmembers receive 32 hours per week of paid job training in natural resource management, waste services or construction, along with a variety industry-approved certificates to increase employability; academic credentialing where corpsmembers participate in eight hours a week of classroom education through CCNB’s John Muir Charter School campuses; and job placement and post-program support utilizing CCNB’s extensive network of nonprofit organizations, government agencies and businesses to help corpsmembers transition into high-quality employment, including up to two years of support for graduates after they complete the program.
In addition to staffing local food pantries and grocery delivery routes for 15,000 residents facing food insecurity due to COVID-19, CCNB’s crews continued to provide essential environmental services in local communities last year, clearing 406 acres of fire fuel, maintaining 81 miles of trails, removing 13.75 tons of litter, diverting 245 tons of electronic waste from landfills and collecting 10,500 tires for recycling.
Eighty percent of CCNB’s corpsmembers have continued into higher education or secured living-wage jobs providing essential services in local communities upon completing the program.
Thanks to partners like Giving Marin, CCNB has adapted its case management, educational, and hands-on job training services to CDC standards, maintaining a consistent level of programming for our corpsmembers and communities, and a safe learning and work environment for those who need it most.
-Photos courtesy of Conservation Corps North Bay