Accreditation for Corps Programs
The Corps Network (TCN) is dedicated to the promotion of high quality programming and standards for Conservation Corps across America. TCN ensures that programs have the capacity to meet desired outcomes for participants as well as meet the high quality and production requirements of resource management partners.
Benefits of Accreditation
Continuous Improvement. Accreditation is an audit of best practices comparing every aspect of a Corps to peer-based standards and best practices. The process provides an opportunity for a Corps to strengthen its operations and ensure that every component of the organization meets high quality standards and each is based on proven practices.
External Validation. Accreditation provides external, objective, and independent validation that a Corps meets high level standards and is being monitored externally. Furthermore, it can help Corps measure, document, and communicate meaningful results.
Board of Directors. The Board or governing body can have comfort that they are overseeing a Corps that is operating at a professional and high level. Accreditation provides confidence to a Board that it has a professionally managed Corps.
Professional Relationships. Accreditation builds confidence and trust among all stakeholders (Board, funders, partners, staff, participants, familites of participants, community members, tax payers) that they are involved with a high quality Corps.
Benefit to Corpsmembers. Corpsmembers will have the experience of participating in a high-quality Corps.
Mentorship and Technical Assistance. TCN offers mentorship to assist Corps in working through the accreditation process. In addition, the process helps a Corps identify areas where special focus is needed or where technical assistance could be provided. Essentially, accreditation is a roadmap to increased Corps capacity and quality.
The Value of Self-Assessment. The standards offer a comprehensive framework with which to guide discussion about a Corps' current state and future. The knowledge and experience of Corps staff are tapped during participation in the accreditation process.
Experience Peer Reviewers. Three accreditation reviewers are chosen from the TCN community. These reviewers are selected for the fit of their experience and expertise to the Corps' self-identified needs. Reviewers will ask questions a Corps had not thought to ask itself and offer recommendations of effectice practices tested at their own Corps.
Cost-Effective Assessment. The accreditation is also one of the most valuable - and least expensive assessments around.
A Forum to Gather Partners. The accreditation process is an ideal opportunity to engage partners - funding, community, project - in the discussion. Corps often involve partners in the process to provide accreditation visitors with their vital perspective and, in turn, further invest them in the Corps. A partners' participation in the process demonstrates the value the Corps places on that relationship.
Access to the Knowledge of the Corps Community. Corps that have participated in accreditation have continuing access to effective practices through TCN. Accreditation also facilitates Corps-to-Corps communication and contact with reviewers based on the common ground of the standards. Connecting through accreditation and its standards also allows Corps references and resources to facilitate continuous improvement.
Improving Quality of the Entire Corps Movement. Accreditation builds the quality of the entire corps movement by strengthing and accreditation Corps one at a time.
The TCN Full Accreditation Process involves an in-depth review of general operations, financial management, risk management, governance standards, and Corps operations. By completing the accreditation process, Corps will demonstrate their accountability to both Corpsmembers and their communities. Independent accreditation provides the assurance of quality that partners, particularily publically-funded government agencies, donors look for and recognizes a Corps ability to provide safe, appropriate, meaningful experiences completing service meeting community and conservation needs. Preparing for the accreditation process also affords Corps the opportunity to review and implement policies that will help streamline their operations and lead to more effective programs.
Full Accreditation, if granted, will last for 5 years with annual updates. Full Accreditation is available for Corps that have established provisional accreditation, 21CSC status by the National Council (USFS Letter of Intent), or Corps wishing to bypass provisional accreditation and seek Full Accreditation. The notice of intent letters are due March 15, 2017. Applications due May 1 - May 31, 2017.
Accredited Corps & their Endorsements
American Conservation Experience
Anchorage Park Foundation - YEP
California Conservation Corps
Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia
Conservation Corps of Long Beach
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
Conservation Corps North Bay
Fresno Local Conservation Corps
Greater Valley Conservation Corps
Larimer County Conservation Corps
Montana Conservation Corps
Los Angeles Conservation Corps
Northwest Youth Corps
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (CO)
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (NM)
Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps
Utah Conservation Corps
Western Colorado Conservation Corps