The Corps Network Applauds RESTORE Council Vote to Award Nearly $12 Million to GulfCorps Initiative
Funds will help engage over 100 Corpsmembers per year over four years. The Corps Network to introduce new racial equity programming to GulfCorps.
[Banner photo by Mike Dumas for The Nature Conservancy]
WASHINGTON, DC – The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, applauds the April 28 vote by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) to award over $11.9 million to the GulfCorps initiative. Over the next four years, these funds will help Corps across Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas engage more than 100 young people per year in coastal restoration projects and job training.
In this new phase of GulfCorps, The Corps Network – as the lead on professional development efforts – is excited to engage GulfCorps programs and Corpsmembers in the Moving Forward Initiative (MFI): The Corps Network’s effort to confront racism and advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the Corps community.
“The Corps Network is proud to help lead the GulfCorps initiative. We are inspired by what this program has accomplished and look forward to the opportunity to continue engaging local young adults in building the resiliency of our Gulf Coast,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “On behalf of the Corps community, I extend gratitude to the RESTORE Council and the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas for recognizing the power of this initiative to both strengthen our workforce and our lands and waters. The Corps Network stands ready to continue investing in the professional and personal development of a new generation of restoration leaders.”
GulfCorps is an initiative to support Conservation Corps in engaging young adults in conservation and restoration service and job training across the five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas). In response to powerful storms and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, GulfCorps seeks to prepare a local workforce for the growing environmental restoration economy. The initiative launched in 2017 with a three-year grant through the RESTORE Act; the RESTORE Council funded the program for a fourth year in 2020 – 2021. GulfCorps is led by The Nature Conservancy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and The Corps Network.
The primary role of The Corps Network in GulfCorps is to lead the professional development programming. Among other activities, this has included working with Corpsmembers to develop goals and individual growth plans; developing and delivering interactive trainings; publishing a bi-weekly workforce development newsletter; and facilitating mock interviews and résumé reviews for Corpsmembers. The post-program placement rate for GulfCorps alumni has been approximately 85 percent. Many moved on to employment with state and federal resource management agencies, service opportunities with other Corps, or conservation-focused higher education.
In this new phase of GulfCorps, The Corps Network will incorporate elements of the Moving Forward Initiative through facilitating Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) programming. The goal of this programming is to provide Corps staff and Corpsmembers the knowledge and resources to promote JEDI principles. The Moving Forward Initiative programming is a journey that involves workshops, activities, and learning communities to help participants develop a foundation on which to examine racism in the United States. Among other activities, Corps will take part in the “Corpsmember Liberation and Leadership,” “Sending the Right Signal,” and “Silence is Not an Option” learning opportunities. More information can be found here.
Since its inception, GulfCorps has engaged more than 300 young people in over 146,000 hours of service. With this new funding announcement, the next cohort will launch September 1, 2021. Five Conservation Corps organizations will operate 11 crews across the Gulf. The Corps organizations involved are: American YouthWorks (TX, LA), CLIMB CDC Conservation Corps (MS), Franklin’s Promise Coalition (FL), Limitless Vistas, Inc. (LA), and the Student Conservation Association (AL).
Over the next four years, GulfCorps crews seek to restore and manage more than 6,400 acres of habitat through more than 250 projects throughout the Gulf of Mexico. GulfCorps projects include restoration, conservation and monitoring activities across a range of habitats, including marshes, prairies, forests, oyster reefs and shorelines. GulfCorps crews will also support public access to Gulf habitats by building and maintaining boardwalks and trails.
Among other accomplishments, GulfCorps crews have restored more than 1,700 acres of beach and marsh habitat, treated more than 1,200 acres of invasive species, and planted more than 60 acres of marsh and wetland. More information on GulfCorps outcomes can be found in The Corps Network FY20 annual report.
The April 28 vote by the RESTORE Council approved items on the Funded Priorities List 3b (FPL 3b). The Council develops Funded Priorities Lists (FPLs) through collaboration among its members and with feedback from stakeholders across the Gulf. The Council has oversight of the expenditure of 60 percent of the funds made available through the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Trust Fund, established by the RESTORE Act following the Deepwater Horizon spill.
The Corps Network
The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, provides leadership and support to over 130 Corps across the United States. Through advocacy, and providing Corps access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables 25,000 Corpsmembers to strengthen communities, improve the environment and transform their lives through service. To learn more about The Corps Network, please visit www.corpsnetwork.org.
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