filed under: workforce development


Corps to Careers: How Service and Conservation Corps Help Build Tomorrow’s Workforce

When young people enroll in a Corps, they usually become a member of a crew. Each crew, consisting of about eight to twelve Corpsmembers, is led by a trained Crew Leader who acts as a mentor and teacher. At many Corps, enrollees are also paired with a counselor who helps them plan personal, career and academic goals.

by The Corps Network

Through classroom and field instruction, Corpsmembers can earn professional certifications and learn technical skills from their Crew Leaders, Corps staff members and outside organizations with which the Corps partners.

Corpsmembers practice their skills by engaging in community and environmental service projects designed to meet pressing local needs. By serving alongside their fellow crewmates to complete these projects, Corpsmembers build a sense of civic responsibility, gain hands-on work experience, and learn important lessons in teamwork, leadership and conflict resolution.

In return for their service, Corpsmembers receive a stipend or living allowance. Many Corps also provide Corpsmembers with a scholarship (see section on Education Awards) that can be used to help pay-off student debt or finance further education. When Corpsmembers graduate from the Corps (terms of service typically range from three months to a year), Corps staff and counselors help with the transition. Corpsmembers receive help building their résumé and practicing interviews. Many Corps have partnerships with local employers and workforce agencies. Corps also usually operate alumni associations through which Corpsmembers can make professional connections and learn about job opportunities. Corpsmembers leave their Corps experience with an understanding of the work world and a sense of responsibility to the environment and their community.

Published September 2017

About the Author


Corps are locally-based organizations that engage young adults and post-9/11 veterans in service addressing recreation, conservation, disaster response, and community needs. Through a defined term of service, Corps participants – or “Corpsmembers” – gain work experience and develop in-demand skills.

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