Governor Mitch Daniels recently announced that the hugely successful Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps (YHCC), a program that has employed nearly 1,900 young adults to improve Indiana’s parks, trails and natural habitats, is being extended further into the fall. The program utilizes federal stimulus funds designated for employment and training of Hoosiers 16 to 24 years old.
“Not only have we put young people to work, but in just a short time their work has added the best kind of enduring legacy in the enhancement of Indiana’s natural beauty,” said Daniels.
The original program end date was Sept. 30, but because of its success, the governor decided to extend the program to Oct. 16, the last day of the Department of Workforce Development’s seasonal designation. That means some 500 to 700 YHCC workers will stay on the job an additional two to six weeks. Nearly 1,900 young adults ages 16 to 24 were hired in five 16-week waves to fill YHCC positions beginning May 1. The jobs pay $8.50 per hour, and there are still funds in this year’s budget for the extended work.
By the end of the program, YHCC workers will have restored 2,600 acres of natural habitat areas by removing invasive plant species such as multi-flora rose, honeysuckle and garlic mustard; constructed 110 miles of new trails; rehabilitated more than 1,000 miles of existing trails; and renovated dozens of structures at 100 DNR sites, including state parks, reservoirs, recreation areas, state forests, nature preserves and state historic sites.
The state received approximately $24 million in federal stimulus funds through the Workforce Investment Act to hire workers for the 91-county program (Marion County funding was separate). Provided the program continues to be effective, the state will seek to renew it in 2010.
For updated information regarding Indiana’s use of federal stimulus funds visit: INvest.in.gov.