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.
"Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps will be a benefit to everyone involved," said Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville). "These young people can rest assured that not only will they have employment, but they will be making a valuable, lasting contribution to the state of Indiana."
The program will employ people ages 16-24, and they will be paid $8.25 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.in.gov/yhcc.
Indiana will receive about $24 million through the Workforce Investment Act. If the program proves effective, it will be renewed next year.
Some examples of projects from east-central Indiana for the Hoosier Youth Conservation Corps:
· Wilbur Wright Fish and Wildlife Area, Henry County.
· Summit Lake State Park, Henry County.
· District 15 Forestry Office, Wayne County.