GOCO offers $500,000 in grants for municipalities, counties, parks and recreation special districts, and land trusts to hire youth conservation corps in partnership with the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA). Another $500,000 is offered through Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which receives GOCO funding.
CYCA is a statewide coalition of nine accredited youth conservation corps that employs and trains youth, young adults, and veterans (ages 16 – 25) with land, water, and energy conservation projects. Youth corps crews work on a “per week” basis. One week of a youth corps crew includes 8-10 people who work at least 320 hours collectively. In addition to furthering the important work of conservation initiatives, corps members become engaged in their communities and develop into stewards of the environment. CYCA serves 1,700 young people annually.
Teenage and young adult unemployment rates are alarmingly high, particularly when compared to overall employment rates. According to a Pew Research study published in June 2015, less than one-third of teenagers were employed in summer 2014 while the adult unemployment rate in Colorado remains just over four percent. The demand for youth corps jobs in Colorado verifies the reality of these statistics. Youth corps receive an average of six applications for every one available job.
Youth corps crews complete a variety of projects, including:
- Trail construction and maintenance
- Tamarisk, Russian olive, and other invasive species mitigation – chainsaw crews, including pesticide/herbicide application, are available
- Fence installation and de-construction
- Wildlife habitat improvement
- Riparian restoration
- Beetle kill hazard mitigation – chainsaw crews available
- Fire Fuels mitigation – chainsaw crews available
To find the youth corps that serves your area, go to cyca.org/join.
Communities may apply for youth corps grants on an annual basis.There is no maximum grant request, but applicants must request at least two weeks of work.
2016-2017 GRANT CYCLE
- August 1, 2016: RFP available
- September 22, 2016: Proposals due to CYCA by 4 p.m. MT
- December 8, 2016: Grants awarded by GOCO board
- January 2017: Projects authorized to begin
- December 31, 2017: All projects must be complete