[r24] Many Hoosier Youth Will Have a More Productive Summer (3/31/2009)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Start Date: 3/31/2009 All Day
End Date: 3/31/2009
STATEHOUSE (March 31, 2009) - Thousands of young Hoosiers will have a more productive summer, and many state recreational facilities will see improvements thanks to a new program.

The Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps will employ 2,000 young people from low-income families to spruce up state-owned parks, trails and natural habitats. The program will be run by the state, but funding comes from federal stimulus money.

"This opportunity for young Hoosiers couldn't have come at a better time," said Rep. McClain (R-Logansport). "This is a great chance to get people involved in the environment and wellness of Indiana. This includes preserving historic artifacts and restoring buildings to show the true beauty of Indiana.

"This is also an appropriate use of federal stimulus money - quickly creating jobs that will create something of lasting value for Indiana and all Hoosiers."
The program will employ people ages 16-24, and they will be paid $8.50 an hour for work in 100 state parks and recreational areas for 16 weeks between May 1 and Sept. 30. According to federal requirements, the jobs go to Hoosiers whose family incomes are at or below the poverty level (about $23,000 for a family of four).

The state's first hiring priorities will be veterans and people already receiving unemployment benefits.

The state Department of Natural Resources expects to restore up to 2,600 acres of natural habitat areas, build up to 110 miles of new trails, rehabilitate more than 1,100 miles of existing trails and restore about 40 structures. Training will include basic construction, historic preservation and greenway development skills.

The Department of Workforce Development and the DNR will oversee the program. Applications are being accepted online at www.youthworks.in.gov.

Indiana will receive about $24 million through the Workforce Investment Act. If the program proves effective, it will be renewed next year.

One of the projects the program is proposing, which is specific to Miami County, is at the Mississinewa State Park. The plan is to have repair work done on the historic Frances Slocum shelter within the park.

"Those individuals who are chosen for the program will be proud of their work and receive gratitude from their communities," said Rep. McClain.

Some other examples of projects for the Hoosier Youth Conservation Corps:

- Potato Creek State Park, St. Joseph County: New trail construction and major trail rehabilitation.

- J. Edgar Roush Lake, Huntington, Wells counties: Removal of shrubs and trees and restoration of wildlife openings to maintain wildlife diversity.

- Deam Lake State Recreation Area, Clark County: Construction of a new six-mile horse trail loop.

- Turkey Run State Park, Parke County: Restoration of historic Leiber Memorial.

- Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site, Noble County: repair and maintenance of historic Stratton-Porter home.

- Pokagon State Park, Steuben County: Preparing Trine State Recreation Area for public opening. (Trine will be the newest state recreation area.)

Contact Rep. McClain by e-mail at h24@IN.gov, by phone at 1-800-382-9841 or by mail at the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.