News Release

Forest Service Expands Access to Youth Conservation Corps Program

USDA Office of Communications

April 20, 2015 -

The U.S. Forest Service is announcing new Youth Conservation Corps job opportunities on national forests throughout the country. Young people from across the United States are encouraged to apply for these jobs at a local forest or with a partner organization. Some residential YCC opportunities are also available for selected applicants.

As part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps initiative to put America's youth to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America's Great Outdoors, the Forest Service is expanding access for urban and other underrepresented groups through YCC opportunities. In 2014, the Forest Service employed more than 1,400 YCC members, a 34 percent increase from 2013. Those members contributed 364,000 cumulative hours of work on Forest Service lands, with a value generation of more than $8 million, a 47 percent increase from 2013.

The YCC and a previous companion program, the Young Adult Conservation Corps, has launched the careers of many Forest Service employees and has had a profound impact on the personal and professional development of people across the country, including Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

"I can't say enough great things about the Youth Conservation Corps program," Chief Tidwell said. "The YCC and the YACC provided opportunities for me and thousands of others to jump start a meaningful career, while doing important work restoring forests and maintaining trails and facilities."

The Youth Conservation Corps program was established in 1974 to help young people ages 15 to 18 gain an understanding of and appreciation for the nation's environment and heritage, and thereby further the development and maintenance of the natural resources by America's youth. YCC provides teenagers gainful employment, while they learn land management and work ethic skills.

Tom Davis, a 25-year Forest Service employee and a current trails specialist for the agency's Skykomish Ranger District on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State, is another example of the success of this program. "I started my Forest Service career with the Youth Conservation Corps when I was 16," recalls Davis. "I've always seen the value in working on a youth corps for personal and professional growth. Yes, youth corps can get some good work done, but I've always felt that engaging youth in outdoors work can have a profound effect on someone's life."

This year, select programs will offer participants accommodations including lodging and food, while developing life skills by preparing their own meals, maintaining a clean and safe living environment, and communicating and working with others on a daily basis. Residential YCC programs participants are provided 24-hour supervision.

Young people ages 15 to 18 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to participate in this program. Interested participants can find out more about current YCC opportunities by visiting the Forest Service website at Those interested in applying can complete an application online or mail it to the host Forest Service unit. Most of the programs will accept applications through April 2015. For more information about the Youth Conservation Corps, please contact Kristina Bell at

The mission of the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the Nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.