As project needs and funding sources change, sometimes programs evolve, do not continue, or become redundant. Some of the past programs we are proud of are listed below.
Summer Opportunity AmeriCorps Program (2015 – 2017)
Summer is a critical time for teens and young adults to gain job skills and experience outside the classroom. Unfortunately, opportunities for summer enrichment are scarce for young adults in underserved communities. To address this issue, AmeriCorps partnered with The Corps Network in 2015 on the Summer Opportunity AmeriCorps Program (SOAP): a pilot in which select Corps in The Corps Network’s Opportunity Youth Service Initiative engaged teenagers in three-month-long AmeriCorps terms doing conservation and community improvement projects. This pilot demonstrated that even relatively short service terms can have a positive influence on participants.
This program was different from other AmeriCorps programs in that Corps could enroll participants as young as 14 and offer a short, 100-hour term of service that does not count towards an individual’s four-term AmeriCorps limit. Also known as the AmeriCorps Affiliate Program, this initiative was funded for the summers of 2015, 2016, and 2017.
PSEI: Postsecondary Success Education Initiative (2012 – 2014)
Created in 2009 (The Corps Network became a partner in 2012), the Postsecondary Success Education Initiative (PSEI) was designed to connect low-income youth to college and postsecondary education. The PSEI strengthened the ability of youth-serving programs to help under-resourced young adults enroll in postsecondary education programs by helping these programs offer their students more rigorous academics and postsecondary support.
Local youth-serving programs (including five member Corps of The Corps Network: Conservation Corps North Bay, Civicorps, Green City Force, Greater Miami Service Corps, and Youth Conservation Corps) involved in the PSEI received grant money. Funds could be used to strengthen their academic programs, including: collecting and using data; building curricula; buying books and school materials; and paying for student application fees and transportation costs. The programs used the money to help ensure their participants – youth between the ages of 18 and 25 who were not already in school and live in poor communities – had a path to postsecondary success. The PSEI was led by The Corps Network, YouthBuild USA, National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) with Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities acting as the program evaluator.y success. The PSEI was led by The Corps Network, YouthBuild USA, National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) with Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities acting as the program evaluator.
Clean Energy Service Corps – CESC (2010 – 2014)
With the April 2009 passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, a grant program was created through the AmeriCorps to fund clean energy projects at Corps. Corpsmembers enrolled in Clean Energy crews weatherized and retrofitted homes for low-income families, conducted energy audits, and educated people about energy efficiency tactics and discounts. Some 98 percent of retrofitted homes saw a reduction in annual energy consumption, while CESC Corpsmembers became competitive job seekers in the growing green energy industry. Clean Energy crews operated at Corps in cities such as New York, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, Austin, and Bend, as well as smaller communities like Waukegan, IL, Norwich, NY, and Traverse City, MI.
Civic Justice Corps – CJC
Through Civic Justice Corps (CJC) programs, formerly incarcerated and court-involved youth reconnected with the community and found pathways to success through service. CJC Corpsmembers improved their communities by completing a range of service projects, including planting trees, weatherizing the homes of their low-income neighbors, replacing sidewalks, and installing green roofs on city government buildings.
The Civic Justice Corps Initiative was supported by the Open Society Foundations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AmeriCorps, and The Corps Network. While The Corps Network is not currently operating a specific Civic Justice Corps program, many Corps continue to recruit Corpsmembers from the justice system and offer supports to effectively serve this population.
Partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation (2010 – 2012)
Through a partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), Corps worked with BOR staff on BOR lands to accomplish a variety of maintenance and conservation projects. Funded through American Recovery and Investment Act dollars (stimulus funding) five Corps across the nation participated in the program.
Partnership with Planters Peanuts (2011)
In 2011, working with the nut company Planters and landscape architect Ken Smith, The Corps Network and its partners transformed neglected spaces in New Orleans, Washington D.C., and New York City into parks known as Planters Grove.
Inclusive Crew Project (2008)
Through a grant from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, the Inclusive Crew Project supported three pilot programs designed to promote the inclusion of young people with disabilities in crew-based service. Utah Conservation Corps, Operation Fresh Start, and Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa participated. It should be noted that these Corps included members with physical and intellectual disabilities prior to this program and continue to successfully engage such young people today. In 2009, an inclusion toolkit was published for Corps who wished to learn more about how to support young people with disabilities.
Corps Respond (2007-2010)
The Corps Respond program trained Corpsmembers to assist in disaster preparedness efforts and support communities in times of disaster. While the Corps Respond program ended, Corps continue their disaster relief efforts today, working independently and also through the AmeriCorps Disaster Services Unit. Corps have played a critical role in responding to wildfires, cleaning up after floods and hurricanes, and in efforts to provide food relief and emergency supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Welfare to Work (1999-2003)
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, The Corps Network worked with nine Corps to engage youth whose families received welfare in enhanced Corps programs designed to connect them to employment through a “work-first” strategy. Of 446 participants, more than half were placed in jobs. Nearly half of participants remained in those jobs six months after completing the program. Learn more.