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Maryland Youth Corps Helps Build State's Green Economy

Chesapeake Conservation Corps members collect water samples as part of their work with organizations and communities in the Chesapeake Bay region. (cbtrust.org)
Chesapeake Conservation Corps members collect water samples as part of their work with organizations and communities in the Chesapeake Bay region. (cbtrust.org)
March 16, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A Maryland program to help young adults prepare for "green careers" like environmental protection or green construction is seeking candidates. People between the ages of 18 to 25 can jump-start their careers and protect the environment in the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, created by the Maryland Legislature in 2010.

Each year, 30 to 35 new corps members are placed in nonprofit organizations or government agencies throughout the Mid-Atlantic region to get hands-on, real-world experience. Tara Drennan, a senior program officer at the Chesapeake Bay Trust which runs the Corps program, says it has been invaluable to recent grads.

"We're trying to really help improve the pathway to green careers for young adults,” says Drennan, “as well as kind of a side benefit of helping to build capacity of some of the organizations working on Chesapeake Bay issues in Maryland."

Drennan adds the Corps takes a multi-pronged approach to helping restore the natural resources in and around the Chesapeake Bay. The deadline to be part of this year's class is April 13. Learn more online at 'cbtrust.org.'

In addition to helping youth, the Chesapeake Conservation Corps also benefits the groups serving as host sites, working to boost the state's green economy. Drennan says this year, the Chesapeake Bay Trust has seen a record number of organizations, with more than 100 signing up to mentor corps members.

"They get the benefit of, basically, a free, full-time staff person for a full year, because the Trust – we cover workers compensation, we cover the stipend that is given to the corps member, so this is paid,” she says. “And it's $18,000 for the year."

She says host sites can be federal, state, local and nonprofit organizations. They include the National Park Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the South River Federation in Annapolis, and even some churches.

Drennan says the host doesn't have to have a main environmental mission, but corps members are expected to work on projects with an environmental focus.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD