Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa has started recruiting for more than 700 positions that include year-long and summer AmeriCorps opportunities for those aged 18 to 25. According to Iowa program manager Mark Wilson, Conservation Corps provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities to youth and young adults from diverse backgrounds while accomplishing conservation, natural resource management and emergency response work. AmeriCorps is a real-life education and work experience. Members will learn teamwork and leadership, gain technical skills and earn certifications in habitat restoration. They also will get the personal satisfaction of taking on challenges and seeing results. Opportunities in Iowa are based out of Ames, Council Bluffs, and Des Moines. Those in Missouri are based out of Springfield.
“Practically speaking, these are fun and challenging opportunities that give young people a chance to demonstrate creativity and responsibility they can leverage as they move along their career paths,” said Eric Antonson, Conservation Corps’ senior director of programs. “But I’m sure most of our program alumni will tell you the real reward was the chance to establish relationships and contribute to something that made the world a better place for everyone.”
For those aged 18 to 25, the year-long AmeriCorps opportunities begin in February and run through December. The summer opportunities begin in May and end in August. In both cases, participants travel throughout the Midwest performing outdoor projects that repair or maintain natural resources or otherwise protect the environment. Participants receive a monthly stipend, health insurance and forbearance on their student loans for the period of their service. Upon completion of the term, members receive an AmeriCorps education award – up to $5,775 – that can be used for future tuition or to pay down existing student loans.
Employers notice resumes that include the kind of community service Conservation Corps provides.
“Many employers are impressed to see a young person who’s taken the initiative to do a job that benefits the community,” Antonson said. “They tell me these youth bring a ‘bigger picture’ perspective to their work, and they function well in teams. This bodes well for them and for those who hire them.”
Those interested may get full position descriptions and complete an application at www.conservationcorps.org/apply for AmeriCorps positions (ages 18 to 25).