Job Corps Curriculum

photo of group of Job Corps enrolles as Oconaluftee JC Center

Partnering with the Job Corps and with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), Conservation Education led the development of a suite of high-quality curriculum materials and activities for use throughout the Job Corps network. Currently the following materials are available for use: Climate Change, Sustainability, and Green Jobs.  Additional curriculum topics and materials are being developed.

Job Corps Curriculum Modules

Climate Change

cover of climate change curriculumThe lessons that follow are designed to introduce Job Corps students to the science and impacts of climate change. Your students’ future jobs may involve work related to minimizing the impacts of climate change, such as installing solar panels or weatherizing homes. Future careers may also involve work related to adapting to a changing climate, such as planting different species of crops or trees or installing deeper piles for buildings. A general knowledge about climate change can put these future workers at an advantage in the workplace and make them better informed citizens and Earth stewards.


  • Battle the Vampires!  Warm-up investigation that asks students to search for power vampires.
  • Simulating the Greenhouse Effect  An independent activity where students build and monitor a simple, simulated “greenhouse.”
  • What Is Climate Change?  Students watch a short, animated video entitled “What Is Climate Change?” and then engage in discussion.
  • The Carbon Trip  In this simulation activity, students become carbon atoms and move throughout the carbon cycle.
  • Planting Trees for Climate Change  A community service project where students create a carbon sink by planting trees. Students calculate the emissions from one tree-planting carbon-intensive activity and offset those time emissions by planting trees.

Sustainable Living

cover of sustainable livingThe lessons that follow are designed to introduce Job Corps students to the concept of sustainable living. But how do we ensure that our Nation is living sustainably? The answer is green jobs. As we move from a fossil fuel-based economy to a renewable resource economy, we need people to show us the way. We need people with green skills—such as the green skills students will be learning at Job Corps. Students will be trained to do many of these important jobs. We need construction workers to build green homes and offices. We need mechanics who can work on hybrid vehicles. We need landscapers who create designs with local, drought-tolerant plants. We need chefs who cook and bake with locally grown, organic food. And, we need teachers to share their knowledge of the environment. Jobs that support sustainable living are green jobs.


  • Water Wonders  A warmup investigation that gets students thinking about the amount of water they consume.
  • Water – Our Blue Planet  A small group activity demonstrating that, although water covers about 70 percent of our planet, potable drinking water is not a plentiful resource.
  • What Are the Limits?  A small group or independent learning activity where students will play the role of grey squirrels living in a finite area, competing for food.
  • A Sustainable Neighborhood  A small group or independent activity that asks students to review a scenario where neighbors have to make decisions about how to reduce their electric bill.
  • Tracing Our Roots  This independent learning activity connects the items we own with their natural resource origins.
  • From Farm to Fork  An independent or small group activity where students learn about food miles and determine the origin of a few produce items.
  • I Have Sustain-Ability! Footprint  An activity in which students complete an ecological assessment and then take on an environmental service project that involves making a personal change.
  • Start a Center Garden  This service learning activity outlines the basic steps to starting a garden on center grounds.

Green Jobs

The lessons that follow are designed to introduce Job Corps students to the concepts of both the “green” economy and how developing “green” skills can benefit them in the workplace, both in increased wages and long-term career advancement. Green-collar jobs are blue-collar jobs that have been created or adapted to help protect or improve the environment. In the Job Corps, “green-collar jobs” and “green jobs” will be used interchangeably. The vocational trades offered by Job Corps can be easily modified to integrate green skills. The vast majority of “green-collar” jobs are being created in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and resource conservation. These “green-collar” jobs better protect the environment and can provide career track employment opportunities in environmentally friendly fields. Examples include electricians who install solar panels; plumbers who install solar water heaters; chefs who use organic, locally produced food; and construction workers who build energy efficient green buildings. These jobs help restore the environment, improve energy efficiency, and conserve natural resources.


  • Environment In the News  A warm-up investigation that invites students to explore advertisements in a newspaper to see how traditional jobs may be greening.
  • The Commons   Small group activity that introduces students to the concept of individual and group acquisition and use of our shared natural resources.
  • A Green Job Corps  Independent activity that invites students to learn how new green-collar skills may be important in their future career path.
  • It’s Happening in My Backyard!  A case-study reading and creative activity that showcases green-collar success stories throughout the United States.
  • Do a Green Job!   Students complete an environmental service project at their Job Corps Center that takes advantage of their current skills and area of community interest in the environment.!ut/p/z0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8zijQwgwNHCwN_DI8zPyBcqYKBfkO2oCABZcx5g/?position=Feature*&pname=Conservation%20Education-%20Home&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ss=119995&navid=100000000000000&ttype=detail&cid=STELPRDB5212438