We are excited to announce that Iowa County Conservation has received the Iowa Department of Transportation Urban Youth Corps (UYC) grant for the summer of 2018. The UYC grant allows us to hire people 16 to 25 years of age to construct transportation related items. In past years we have constructed, updated or restored trails, constructed foot bridges and land bridges, and restored areas by removing invasive plant species or cleaning trash so they are usable to the public.
Not only do many of our conservation properties benefit from the UYC grant but the UYC staff get some extra training than they might not receive at other summer jobs. They receive safety training for hand and power tools and construction equipment. They receive CPR- AED certification. Our full time ICCB staff also works with UYC staff on skills such as writing a resume and going to a job interview. The UYC staff also learns important construction and conservation techniques.
For many of our young hires the Urban Youth Corps is their first 40 hour/week job. They begin to see the value of a hard day’s work when they take steep uneven terrain choked with Autumn Olive and Honeysuckle and turn it into a hiking trail. They take pride in finished projects that will can be seen for years to come. The work is hot and dirty and sometimes the team finds itself waist high in a lake or pond but soon they learn the value of teamwork and leadership skills. They get to see the planning process and learn how and why a project needs to follow certain criteria. UYC kids also get to have some fun and participate in team builders and outings.
This summer we hope to hire 4 crew members that will build and restore trails at Lake Iowa Park and Gunderson Wildlife Area as well as clean up other remote properties. Crew members begin in June and projects are wrapped up in August in time for students to return to high school or college.
Summers spent as a UYC crewmember have left an indelible mark on some of our alumni. We have seen kids return to work as seasonals and full time staff members and seen others decide they are well suited for a career in conservation. With all that is packed into a summer as a UYC crewmember it is more than just a job. It helps form the adults they are becoming and gives them the confidence to challenge themselves in the future.
Applications for a seasonal position as a UYC crew member can be found at http://www.co.iowa.ia.us/jobs.htm. The deadline for applications is May 1st.