Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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SEATTLE CONSERVATION CORPS
Employment, Opportunity, Service
Contact: Ruth Blaw (206) 684-0190 | Ruth.Blaw@seattle.gov
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DUAL PURPOSE PROGRAM
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.
It provides 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
PREPARATION FOR SELF-RELIANCE
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:
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 $9.92 per hour. Since 1986, the Corps has launched more than 800 people into full participation in the community.
In their own words
SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY
Where the Corps goes to work
SCC GRADUATES ARE WORKING
65% of the people who enroll in the Seattle Conservation Corps program
leave with a job.
--What people say about the Corps
"It's nice having a group that can work well with general direction
from our inspector . . . It is run as well as other consulting businesses
I have dealt with. They are courteous, helpful, willing to listen to
unusual proposals, usually able to respond faster even than a "roster"
consultant. The teams that were assigned to my projects have had foremen
who are accessible and responsive to my requests. . . I've always been
satisfied with the service I have received. I encourage other departments
to use this resource."
"As a project manager for Seattle Parks and Recreation, I've come
to rely on the Seattle Conservation Corps and its organization to consistently
get the job done on time, within specifications, and at a reasonable
cost/price, even in adverse conditions."
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Updated July 7, 2016
Conservation Corps Newsletter
Read the Corps newsletter, created by Corps members!
Michelle entered SCC in April of 1996; she was a single mother with three children. She learned computer skills and did many kinds of labor jobs while she was in the program. Today Michelle is a Waste Water Collection Worker for Seattle Public Utilities and owns her own home
Sabrina graduated from the Corps in November of 2003. She is also a Seattle Public Utility Waste Water Collection Worker. Sabrina was homeless when she started at the Corps. While working at SCC she took care of her legal issues, found housing and learned many skills including landscaping, irrigation installation, and some heavy equipment operation. After she finished the SCC program she worked for SCC as a crew lead for about a year and then successfully competed for her current job at SPU. Sabrina says: "Through the Corps I learned how to value myself, other people, and my city. Now I have a job I love."
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