Seattle Conservation Corps

CityStream Splashback: Conservation Corps

Rain Barrels for Sale

The Seattle Conservation Corps make Rain Barrels and Supplies for Sale to householders in the City of Seattle. Catch those spring (and summer) showers with a Seattle Rain Barrel and water your garden the Natural Yard Care way. Call (206) 684-0190 during regular business hours to place your order.

Training and community service

The Seattle Conservation Corps, established in 1986, is a unique Parks and Recreation program that gives back in two ways: it trains formerly troubled people for viable, living-wage jobs, and the Corps collectively do great work in Seattle parks and for other agencies and employers on a contract basis. This program gives homeless adults opportunities to train and work in a structured program that provides them with job skills and carries out projects that benefit our citizens and our environment. It's a year-round employment program with an annual budget of about $4 million.

Rather than relying primarily on public funding, the Corps covers 75 percent of its costs by doing work for City departments and others, and seeking grant funding for support services, training, and educational opportunities.

Accountability and hands-on help

Each Corps member signs an individual performance contract agreeing to one year's employment, education, and life skills development. Each joins a crew averaging five members with an experienced staff supervisor, or Crew Lead, to oversee the work. Crews work five days a week and study after hours at the Conservation Corps Learning Center. Study topics include:

  • High school equivalency and basic math and reading skills improvement
  • Safety on the job
  • Technical skills related to specific projects
  • Life skills such as money management, nutrition, conflict resolution, job readiness, and effective communication effectively
  • Job search preparation skills such as resume writing and interviewing skills
  • Proper power and hand tool usage

The hourly pay for each Corps member begins at the minimum wage, and each receives case management and other services he or she may need, including mental health counseling and drug and alcohol recovery services. At the end of their enrollment with the Conservation Corps, each member receives help moving into permanent employment.

Success tells the story

In a given year, over half of the members who enter the program finish it and improve their living situations. More than 80 percent leave with stable housing, and more than 90 percent leave for long-term employment paying an average wage of $15.00 per hour. Since 1986, the Corps has launched more than 800 people into full participation in the community.

65% of the people who enroll in the Seattle Conservation Corps program leave with a job.