The Wilkes Barre Times Leader
Thursday, January 5, 2017
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has joined with the Department of Labor and Industry to expand a youth program in state parks and forests throughout the state, including the Wilkes-Barre area.
The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps — an off-shoot of the old Civilian Conservation Corps — was implemented last summer as a pilot program with five teen crews throughout state. The six-week program offered paid work experience, job training, and educational opportunities to young people who complete recreation and conservation projects at state parks, forests and other Pennsylvania public lands.
The program is managed by DCNR in cooperation with the Student Conservation Association, with financial and program support provided by DCNR and the Department of Labor & Industry’s Reemployment Fund. The program will expand to 10 locations this year which are still being determined.
“Whether it was battling invasive growth, restoring hiking trails or renovating a state forest gazebo, Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps members worked hard last summer to protect and restore our public lands and waters, while receiving knowledge and expertise to be good stewards of our natural resources,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “I heard firsthand at their job sites how these young crews appreciated both the job opportunities and the chance to connect with the outdoors and gain training necessary for future successful employment.”
Dunn added that the program is a key element of the department’s strategic efforts to connect with youth and expand job opportunities, particularly in under-served areas of the state.
“Having had a chance to see these students at work in our beautiful state parks, we are especially pleased to offer our support to expand the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps in 2017 to create even more jobs,” said Labor & Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino. “We also are pleased to be working to attract more students from lower income households where barriers to employments, such as transportation, may be a larger issue.”