California Conservation Corps
|Formed||July 7, 1976|
|Headquarters||1719 24th Street, Sacramento, California|
|Motto||"Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions ... and more!"|
|Employees||1,500 - 2000|
|Annual budget||$90.7 million (2016)|
|Parent agency||California Resources Agency|
The California Conservation Corps, or the CCC, is a department of the government of California, falling under the state cabinet-level California Resources Agency. The CCC is a work development program specifically for men and women between the ages of 18 to 25 (up to 29 for veterans), offering work in environmental conservation, fire protection, land maintenance, and emergency response to natural disasters. Members of the CCC are referred to as "corpsmembers" or "corpies." Corpsmembers are paid minimum wage for their work.
The bill to create the California Conservation Corps was co-authored by California State Senator Ruben Ayala. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on July 7, 1976, modeling the corps after the federal Civilian Conservation Corps that existed during the New Deal in the 1930s. Brown envisioned a department marketed specifically to the state's young people as "a combination Jesuit seminary, Israeli kibbutz, and Marine Corps boot camp." The CCC replaced the California Ecology Corps that was created by executive order of Governor Ronald Reagan in 1971 as an "alternative service" option for Conscientious Objectors during the Vietnam War.
Following the end of his governorship, Brown's successor, Governor George Deukmejian, signed legislation to eliminate the CCC's sunset clause by making it a permanent department under the California Resources Agency in 1983.
The duties of operation falling to the CCC include trail maintenance, riparian zone restoration, tree planting and exotic plant species removal, construction, and emergency flood and wildfire response. Other organizations pay the CCC to do the work. Corps-members are offered the chance to complete their high school diploma through independent CCC schools and are trained in cooking, office work, chainsaw, and vehicle maintenance. The CCC also encourages corpsmembers to seek higher education or vocational training by offering scholarships.
Since 1992, the California Department of Finance has allotted less funding to the CCC, forcing the closure of numerous residential centers throughout the state.
The CCC has received presidential praise as well as numerous awards for its work.
- "Veterans Programs". 2014.
- Woo, Elaine (January 7, 2012). "Ruben S. Ayala dies at 89; known as a maverick state senator". Los Angeles Times.
- "CCC History". 2004.
- "Reagan Announces Creation Of California Ecology Corps". St. Petersburg Times. 28 April 2971. Retrieved 11 October 2013. Check date values in:
- "Awards & Accolades". At A Glance. CCC. Retrieved 11 October 2013.