The Careers in Natural Resources Initiative grew from an ongoing concern that youth conservation corps face difficulty guiding their alumni into natural resource careers. For alumni who do secure natural resource-related jobs, they do so by utilizing connections rather than accessing a deliberate program or institutionalized methodology. As we researched the issue, we realized that the problem was widespread and affects not only youth corps but many other youth-serving environmental organizations. We also learned that 1) land management agencies have a great need for better qualified candidates and those from non-traditional backgrounds and 2) college and universities have difficulty attracting students from non-traditional populations to their natural resource degree programs.
Colorado Youth Corps Association and the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education have agreed to serve as lead agencies to facilitate this initiative for the next two years.
For more information or to get involved contact Lisa Eadens, Career Development Coordinator for CAEE at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.273.9527.
Activities and Accomplishments
In May 2013, CYCA, CAEE and other initiative partners held a Natural Resources Career Fair for 9th through 12th graders at West Generation High School in Denver. Unlike traditional Career Fairs, the Natural Resources Career Fair featured six highly interactive stations through which students rotated. Seventy-six students attended the Fair with 94.6% reporting that they better understood opportunities in natural resource careers and 32.3% stating that they would consider pursuing a career natural resources after the Fair.
In March 2014, CYCA and CAEE, with the help of the Career Guide Subcommittee, finished a 194-page "How-To Guide for Pursuing a Career in Natural Resources." The Guide is aimed at recent graduates and entry-level candidates and focuses specifically on natural resource careers at all levels of government. Job seekers can find tips on where and how to search for jobs, advice on being a successful candidate and step-by-step instructions on how to apply through USAJOBS and other government systems. The Guide has been updated several times, most recently in March 2018. DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE HERE.
In June 2014, the Careers in Natural Resources Initiative hosted a first of its kind careers in natural resources exploration week called the "Work Gone WILD Week." Eighteen students of diverse backgrounds participated in the 5-day program which took them to natural resource job sites including City Park in Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Marston Water Treatment Plant of Denver, Barr Lake State Park and the CSU-Fort Collins campus and included a resume-writing and speed-networking component. Since 2014 and in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and Goodwill Industries of Denver, eight additional Work Gone WILD programs have given more than 100 youth experiences with natural resource careers.
The initiative currently is focused on three goals:
- Raise awareness of natural resource career opportunities for youth.
- Reduce barriers in applying for state and federal jobs.
- Increase access to information about natural resource careers and available jobs.
Related Programs and Organizations
- Public Lands Service Coalition - http://www.plscoalition.org/
- The Nature Conservancy LEAF Program - http://www.nature.org/about-us/careers/leaf/index.htm
- Department of the Interior Youth in the Great Outdoors and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps - http://www.doi.gov//youth/index.cfm