|Colorado Dept. of Labor & Employment Grant Sparks Energy Jobs
Youth corps recently completed the Statewide Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) program funded by a $300,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The grant funded 83 corpsmembers to receive training in residential energy efficiency and water conservation. Of the 83 corpsmembers, 76 earned industry-recognized certifications to prepare them for future employment and post-secondary education opportunities that will feed Colorado’s workforce in the growing green business sector.
Mile High Youth Corps, Larimer County Youth Conservation Corps,Western Colorado Conservation Corps, and Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners all participated in the program. Corpsmembers gained work experience, training, certifications, and AmeriCorps Education Awards for college, trade school or to repay student loans. Of the participants, 19 secured full- or part-time energy industry-related jobs, 10 continued their education, 16 secured non-energy industry-related jobs, and 23 continued to serve with a youth corps. See below to learn about one corpsmember, Matt Rydstrom, who is currently working in the energy efficiency industry.
This program has been a win/win for the corpsmembers and for Colorado. When not engaged in job training, the corpsmembers implemented energy and water saving measures in 8,173 homes and apartments, three businesses and one school. These measures have already yielded results: an energy savings of more than 1,120,952 kWh, saving $262,708 annually, and a savings of 54,355,710 gallons of water annually. For those of you who like to think in “swimming pools,” that’s the equivalent of 82 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water each year!
Top: Larimer County Youth Conservation Corps members participate in energy efficiency training led by Lightly Treading. The blue contraption is not a time machine! It is a Balometer, or "flow hood," used to measure air-flow at supply and return air registers in forced air heating systems.
Bottom: A Larimer County Youth Conservation Corps member installs a programmable thermostat.
A Bright Future for Matt Rydstrom
Matt Rydstrom had never had a job and didn’t have much manual labor experience before joining the Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC). But after six months with youth corps, he found that the opportunity gave him a new perspective on life – and valuable skills to boot.
For Matt, the experience and training he gained at the corps as a result of the Colorado Dept. of Labor and Employment Statewide Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) grant has paid off, directly leading to a full-time job with High Noon Solar, a renewable energy company.
Growing up in Clifton, Colorado, Matt has always loved the outdoors. As soon as he heard about the chance to gain practical job training and develop his leadership skills – and especially the chance to go camping in the Colorado wilderness – he signed up to join WCCC.
During Matt’s first six months with WCCC, he built trails and fences, removed invasive plant species, earned CPR/First Aid and Building Performance Institute (BPI) certifications, and received basic chainsaw training. “Over time, I learned good work habits. The corps made me a harder worker, I gained better listening skills, and I was able to gain trust of my team. Youth corps helped me grow as an individual,” says Matt. He also earned a $2,300 AmeriCorps Education Award, which he can apply to a college program. But for now, Matt is focused on getting more work experience under his belt.
In February 2012, WCCC helped Matt secure an internship with High Noon Solar, where he learned how to install residential solar systems thanks to a grant from the Statewide Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) program. During his internship, Matt installed 63 systems, equating to 1.4 megawatts of energy produced using solar technology, which will wield 2,000,000 kilowatts of energy per year for homes.
“Matt was a perfect fit for the SESP grant opportunity. With his drive and motivation, the SESP grant has allowed him to gain training and knowledge that he has turned into a career,” said Trevor Wickersham, executive director of WCCC.
“Matthew has been a great addition to the High Noon Solar team. He brings a positive attitude and strong work ethic that every employer is looking for. Without the internship, we may not have been able to give Matthew the training needed to work for us full time,” said Brian Corey, lead installer at High Noon. High Noon hired Matt as a full-time employee in August 2012.
Matt says he owes his new job to youth corps, noting that it’s a great opportunity for any young person who wants to learn leadership skills and get more active in the outdoors. “Youth corps is a great experience that I would recommend to any young adult who wants training and experience or wants to help the environment. It’s definitely an experience that has changed my life.”
Federal Agencies Announce National Council to Build 21st Century Conservation Service Corps
WASHINGTON, DC — Leaders of eight federal departments and agencies recently announced that they have signed an agreement setting up a national council to guide implementation of the Obama Administration’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) – a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and returning veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors. By signing the Memorandum of Understanding finalized on January 10, 2013, the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor, as well as the EPA Administrator, Chair of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and Assistant Secretary for the Army (Civil Works) established the National Council for the 21CSC—fully implementing the first recommendation of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative introduced by President Obama in 2010. Read the Dept. of Interior press release here.
Annual Youth Corps Awards Ceremony
Please join us!
Monday, February 4, 2013
Colorado State Capitol
Old Supreme Court Chambers
Refreshments – 7:45 am
Ceremony – 8:15 am
Celebratory Brunch - 10:30 am - $30
Warwick Hotel, 1776 Grant St., Denver
2012 Legislators of the Year
Senator Jeanne Nicholson
Representative Millie Hamner
2012 Champion for Youth
Will Shafroth, Counselor to the Secretary, US Department of the Interior
2012 Corpsmembers of the Year Awards
RSVP for Ceremony & Brunch by January 25 to firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-863-0603
Brunch payment by check or credit card
$500,000 in GOCO Funds Provide Land Stewardship Opportunities for Youth in 2013
More than 200 young people, ages 14 to 25, will get youth corps positions this spring, summer, and fall thanks to funding approved by the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board in mid-December. The GOCO board voted to disperse a total of $500,000 in Lottery funds to local governments and open space organizations to improve a number of outdoor areas in 14 counties across the state. The board approved 19 youth corps projects that will yield 23,000 hours of service by young people to maintain and improve Colorado’s public and privately protected lands. Read the complete press release on our website.