Funds would create natural resources and clean water
career paths for underrepresented youth
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – January 30, 2017 – Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has recommended a general fund appropriation for the 2017-2018 biennium of $385,000 to Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) to create science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career paths for the state’s underrepresented youth. The funding is intended to improve potential to succeed in STEM-related natural resources careers, leading to increased career paths for diverse communities and positively impacting Minnesota’s environment for decades to come. The appropriation would continue into the “out” biennium (2019-2020).
“This is an outstanding opportunity to help those who might not otherwise have the chance to discover the beauty of our great outdoors and pursue a satisfying career that protects and fortifies our state’s great natural resources,” said CCMI executive director Teresa Spaeth. “This would be a win for these kids and a win for the state.”
Minnesota’s natural resources professional workforce is much less diverse than its citizenry. While other sectors are seeing increases in racially and ethnically diverse employees, their participation in the natural resources workforce remains low, especially at decision-making levels. Anticipated ongoing growth in public and private sector sustainability and natural resources employment creates an opportunity for these groups, and this appropriation is intended to increase the potential that minority and underserved populations participate in natural resource and sustainability career opportunities.
“Unfortunately, many Minnesota youth, especially among underserved communities, are not aware of the promising careers in these fields and are not enrolling in college degree programs that align with open positions,” Spaeth continued. “Additionally, research shows that youth participants from underserved communities benefit from counseling and mentoring to identify a career path and get feedback on their strategies to enter and thrive in it, and I find this particularly true in fields that pertain to natural resources. This appropriation would significantly increase the likelihood that minority and underserved populations could participate and succeed in natural resources and sustainability careers.”
$385,000 to Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
January 30, 2017/add one
Conservations Corps has a history of benefitting its participants. Program evaluations and tracking show program alumni are better prepared to pursue a college education, followed by a career in the natural resources field. A growing number are able to earn high school or college credit as a result of their participation.
About Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities to youth and young adults while accomplishing conservation, natural resources management and emergency response work. More information is available at www.conservationcorps.org.