Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Seattle Parks and Recreation


Employment, Opportunity, Service

Address: 7727 63rd Ave. NE, Suite 201, Seattle WA 98115
Contact: Ruth Blaw (206) 684-0190 |

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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 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 $9.92 per hour. Since 1986, the Corps has launched more than 800 people into full participation in the community.

In their own words

What the Conservation Corps Means to Me You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.


Where the Corps goes to work

  • Watershed Improvement Program. Corps crews work with Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities to repair sensitive riparian areas, restore native habitat, work on erosion control, and install and maintain trails.
  • Urban Forest Restoration. The Corps plants and maintains trees for Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Light, and Seattle Public Utilities
  • Park Upgrade Program. Funded by Community Development Block Grant, PUP projects improve parks in low-income neighborhoods all over Seattle. Conservation Corps crews build retaining walls and sidewalks, restore playground structures, build park benches and picnic tables, and improve ADA accessibility.
  • SCC built and landscaped the beautiful new Dog Beach at the Magnuson Park off leash area
  • Broadview Green Grid- an award winning drainage project for Seattle Public Utilities. SCC crews installed 10,000 plants and trees in this NW Seattle Neighborhood.
  • Staffs Seattle Public Utility Recycle Events and provides junk pick up services to senior and disabled residents
  • SCC also does building demolition, provides moving services for City of Seattle offices, cleans up encampments, provides landscape maintenance for City and Port of Seattle properties, and shoreline restoration
  • The Seattle Conservation Corps make rain barrels available 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.


65% of the people who enroll in the Seattle Conservation Corps program leave with a job.
SCC graduates are working at Seattle Public Utilities, Amorclad, International Belt and Rubber Supply, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Woodland Park Zoo, Franz Bakery, Pacific Piling and Apprenticeships with the Cement Masons and Painters unions. And that is just to name a few.


--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."
Pam Miller, Seattle Public Utilities

"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."
Toby Ressler, Seattle Parks and Recreation

*Note: To view a PDF, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download it for free at

Updated July 7, 2016

Conservation Corps Newsletter

Read the Corps newsletter, created by Corps members!

» Read newsletter You will need adobe acrobat reader to view this document.

Garfield Community Center

Broadview Green Grid


Michelle and Sabrina

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."

Social Media

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