SEATTLE — There is a new nationwide campaign by the National Park Foundation and Carhartt to hire more young people to Service Corps organizations to help our national parks.
Service Corps workers help with different environmental efforts, like restoration projects in our national parks.
"They are building trails, they're building bridges, they're removing invasive species,” said Jay Satz, with the Northwest Youth Corps in Tacoma.
The Northwest Youth Corps employs people between the ages of 15 and 30 to help with several environmental restoration projects. Many of those projects take place in our national parks.
“Just the work that they actually get done is critical,” said Satz. “Right now, the National Park Service doesn't have enough staff to do the work that needs to be done.”
This past winter, Mount Rainier National Park faces staffing shortages that led to the Paradise area being closed temporarily on weekdays.
Satz said not only do members of the Service Corps get paid to be working outside, but they also learn new skills and get educated on the challenges facing our environment.
“The engagement of these young people in working to mitigate climate change in these parks is essential,” said Satz.
Climate change and increased visitation at our national parks are the two main reasons the National Park Foundation and Carhartt are trying to recruit 500 new Service Corps members nationwide.
“So, some parks are experiencing severe drought, some are experiencing increased fires, or some are experiencing increased rain and flooding events,” said Tracey Ritchie, with the National Park Foundation.
Given its proximity to national parks, they chose Seattle as one of the areas to focus on for recruitment. They put up a billboard in downtown Seattle letting people know that there are opportunities to work with the Service Corps outside the city.
“We just knew you wanted to have a just a great active outdoor community,” said Brian Bennett, VP of Creative at Carhartt. “I've certainly learned how, you know, Seattle has a really great blue-collar vibe to it, too.”
It’s a nationwide push, that Jay Satz hopes will have a long-lasting impact on both the national parks and the people hired on.
"What’s really important to us, regardless of where young people go in the successful pursuit of their careers, is that they are conservation citizens,” said Satz.
Job opportunities can be found here.