Utah Conservation Corps Receives Accreditation for Excellence in Operations

The Corps Center of Excellence, a subsidiary of The Corps Network – the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, has granted accreditation to Utah State University’s Utah Conservation Corps following a rigorous review process. This accreditation follows an in-depth evaluation of internal operations, financial management practices, risk management practices, governance standards and youth programming operations.

As defined by The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, Corps are comprehensive youth development programs that provide young people (generally ages 16 – 25) the opportunity to serve in crews on important community and environmental projects. Corpsmembers develop job and leadership skills and earn a stipend or education award for their service. Accreditation is granted to Corps that demonstrate a high level of accountability to the communities in which they operate and the Corpsmembers they enroll. 

“The Utah Conservation Corps is honored to receive this accreditation and to be part of the nationwide community of corps that serve America’s young people and public lands,” said Sean Damitz, director of the Center for Community Engagement. 

As an accredited Corps, Utah Conservation Corps has proven its ability to provide safe, appropriate, meaningful experiences to the young people they engage in service projects. They have also proven their ability to provide high-quality project outcomes to a number of federal, state and non-profit partners with whom they collaborate to develop service opportunities for Corpsmembers. 

“Demonstrating that you meet industry standards is an important marketing tool for Corps that let’s potential partners and stakeholders understand that your program produces high-quality outcomes,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of The Corps Network. “It shows that Corps programs are an excellent investment that benefits both the young people they serve and their communities.”

When deciding to undergo the accreditation process, Corps can choose to be endorsed for following one or more specific Corps models. To receive these endorsements, Corps must be able to prove they meet set standards for each model. Utah Conservation Corps was endorsed as a 21st Century Conservation Corps; a designation granted to Corps that have been accredited through the U.S. Forest Service or focus on projects that involve significant outdoor activity.

The Corps Center of Excellence is administered by an advisory committee made up of retired and former Conservation Corps leaders, retired and former federal land management agency staff, and other experts. During the accreditation process, an accreditation team comprised of persons with expertise in Youth and Conservation Corps operations review a Corps’ service project and Corpsmember outcomes, internal documents and financials. This team also conducts a multiple-day site visit at each Corps undergoing the accreditation process. Results of these reviews are presented to the Advisory Committee for discussion and approval. Accreditation lasts for five years with each Corps required to provide an annual update.

For more information about Corps accreditation, visit https://corpsnetwork.org/resources/accreditation-for-corps-programs/

About Utah Conservation Corps
The UCC, based out of USU’s Center for Community Engagement, was formed in 2001 with a mission to develop the conservation leaders of tomorrow. Since 2001, more than 1,800 UCC AmeriCorps members have served over 1.4 million hours creating or maintaining 3,747 miles of trail and 464 miles of fence, restoring 50,026 acres of public land and reaching 404,049 students with environmental education. More information on UCC can be found at http://www.usu.edu/ucc.

About The Corps Network
The Corps Network provides critical leadership to the Corps movement and our nation’s Service and Conservation Corps as they harness the power of youth and young adults to tackle some of America’s greatest challenges and transform their own lives. Our 100+ members operate in all states and the District of Columbia. Each year they collectively enroll more than 23,000 Corpsmembers from ages 16-25. Corps are comprehensive youth development programs that provide their participants with job training, academic programming, leadership skills, and additional support through a strategy of service that improves communities and the environment. Learn more at www.corpsnetwork.org.