California Energy and Environmental Conservation Recovery Corps
The California Energy and Environmental Conservation Recovery Corps is a collaborative effort of the California Conservation Corps and three nonprofit local conservation corps programs that, along with and federal, state, local and private partners, will improve energy efficiency in low-income communities and restore California’s public lands. This program provides AmeriCorps service opportunities that change the lives of young adults, helping them acquire the education, job training, career-building and communication assets needed to help them reach their full potential in life while also serving their communities. This program will provide green jobs pathways out of poverty for 115 young adults ages 18 to 25 through pre-apprenticeship-type crew-based green workforce development opportunities. Services include the following:
- Low-income Home Weatherization: Members improve the “building envelope” by repairing, replacing and installing windows, doors, roofing, ducts, insulation, weather-stripping, lights, heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems, energy-efficient appliances, water heaters, low-flow toilets and showerheads, and photovoltaic panels. In addition, members may perform energy audits to assist in weatherization planning and help residents with conservation awareness to lower energy use and cost.
- Public Lands Natural Resource Conservation: This includes fire hazard reduction, habitat restoration and maintenance, invasive plant removal, trail construction, maintenance and rehabilitation, flood risk mitigation, landscaping, park maintenance, public access restoration and stream, river and watershed restoration. Members receive extensive training in trail construction and habitat restoration.
Members receive extensive technical and on-the-job training to support them in their service and to help them transition from the program with improved work readiness, service-specific skills and civic participation skills. Members provide either 1,700 or 900 hours of service within a one-year period, and receive a monthly stipend of approximately $600-1,100 for their participation (amount may vary depending on the type and duration of service); full-time members also receive health and child care benefits. All members can qualify for either a $4,725 or $2,365 post-service education award.
AmeriCorps members provide services in low-income regions in 10 counties: Sonoma, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Imperial. AmeriCorps members are recruited from the local communities.
Measurable Outputs and Outcomes
Project outcomes to date in 2010 include:
- 2,500 low-income homes rehabilitated, weatherized or otherwise made more energy-efficient (e.g. photovoltaic panels installed);
- 40 miles of trails constructed or rehabilitated; and
- 80 acres of habitat restored, enhanced and/or improved.
Other associated impacts of the program’s services include reduced household energy use and decreased utility bills for low-income residents; habitat improvements; and safer and greater public access to public lands.