The Corps Network and The Corporation for National and Community Service Launching New Opportunity Youth Service Initiative

The Corps Network has been awarded a grant by the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) to launch a new Opportunity Youth Service Initiative (OYSI) that will support low-income and disadvantaged youth as members of America's Service and Conservation Corps. As part of the initiative, Corpsmembers will complete environmental stewardship projects designed to increase access to open spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities, add economic value, and promote healthy lifestyles among both the OYSI members and the communities in which they are serving. The program will operate for at least 3 years, engaging approximately 340 diverse youth and young adults from ages 16-24 years old. CNCS has made a commitment of $2.4 million for each of the first three years of this new AmeriCorps initiative. 

As a central component of the initiative, each year Corps will build or improve at least 640 miles of trails, improve or restore at least 2,700 acres of public lands, and improve living conditions for at least 3,500 low-income households through home repair, retrofitting, and energy audits. These projects and additional training will prepare Corpsmembers for careers related to energy efficient construction and public lands conservation. 

The term opportunity youth was recently coined to describe the estimated 6.7 million youth ages 16 to 24, who are out of school and out of work. By participating in professional development and training, Corpsmembers increase their college and career readiness skills; they are able to explore career opportunities and earn industry recognized credentials required for entry onto a "green" jobs career pathway. In this way, the OYSI will help address America's currently high levels of youth unemployment by providing Corpsmembers with access to educational services, life-skills development, workforce preparation, supportive services, personal and career counseling, and post-program placement assistance. 

The initiative will support 13 Corps programs in 13 states who enroll opportunity youth in their programs. They include

o Southwest Conservation Corps – Greater Phoenix and Greater Tucson, Arizona

o Coconino Rural Environmental Corps – Arizona

o Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps – Sacramento, California

o Western Colorado Conservation Corps – Mesa County, Colorado

o Limitless Vistas, Inc. – New Orleans, Louisiana

o Civic Works / Baltimore's Service Corps – Baltimore, Maryland

o Heart of Oregon Corps – Central Oregon

o Northwest Youth Corps – Northern Oregon and Wenatchee, Washington

o Green City Force – New York, New York

o The Sustainability Institute – Charleston Metro Area, South Carolina

o American YouthWorks / Texas Conservation Corps – Austin, Texas

o Vermont Youth Conservation Corps – North Carolina, New York and Vermont

o Operation Fresh Start – Dane County and Madison, Wisconsin

"We are thrilled that the Corporation for National and Community Service has chosen to recognize the importance of helping put opportunity youth on pathways toward career and life success through environmental stewardship and service," said Mary Ellen Ardouny, President and CEO of The Corps Network. "Given some of the high levels of youth unemployment our country has experienced to date, initiatives like this one that produce tangible, cost-effective results for participants and their communities are essential."

The initial cohort of participants will begin their term of service in the initiative in October.

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network is the voice of the nation’s 127 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in every state and the District of Columbia, Corps annually enroll more than 27,000 young men and women in service every year. Since its creation in 1985, The Corps Network has provided national leadership and promoted the growth and quality of its member Corps as they provide education, workforce development, and an ethic of stewardship to diverse youth who address important community and conservation needs. Each year Corps mobilize an additional 289,000 community volunteers who work alongside Corpsmembers to generate 638,684 additional hours of service, at an estimated value of $14,140,463. For more information, visit or contact Levi Novey at or 202.737.6272.

Media Contact:

Levi Novey
The Corps Network
1100 G Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.737.6272
Fax: 202.737.6277