Mt. Adams Institute has received $1,119,904 in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs.
This funding will support up to 95 AmeriCorps members across the country participating in Mt. Adams Institute’s career development programs: VetsWork Environment, VetsWork GreenCorps and Public Lands Stewards. These programs are designed to improve recreation, access, and conservation of our natural resources, while launching military veterans and young adults into careers within the public lands management field.
“AmeriCorps is an incredible federal program that engages over 75,000 people, annually, in service to their community and country,” said Brendan Norman, executive director of Mt. Adams Institute. “In the case of our programs, that means engaging veterans and young adults in service to our public lands and natural resources. We’re thrilled that the Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the positive impact that our organization is making across the nation.”
Mt. Adams Institute AmeriCorps members serve on conservation projects such as trail maintenance; visitor engagement, wildlife research, environmental education, geographic information mapping, invasive species monitoring, and community volunteer coordination.
This grant comes as a direct result of the success of the program. Since 2014, 81% of VetsWork participants who completed the program have been offered employment within the field. With this growth, Mt. Adams Institute looks forward to establishing new local partnerships and providing more opportunities for veterans and young adults to experience the outdoors while shaping their career path.
In addition to grant funding, CNCS will provide over $460,000 in education awards for the members to help pay for future college tuition, vocational training, or repay student loans.
Mt. Adams Institute matches the grant funding with additional support from project partners, including but not limited to the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Columbia River Gorge National Fish Hatchery Complex, King Conservation District, Oregon State Parks, Willamette Resources and Education Network, and Willamette Riverkeeper.
Locally, VetsWork and Public Lands Stewards AmeriCorps members have provided over 42,000 hours of service at local Gorge sites over the past five years including the Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Columbia River Gorge National Fish Hatchery Complex, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and the Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Hood National Forests.
“I’m so grateful to the VetsWork program, AmeriCorps, and especially the Mt. Adams Institute staff. This has been my dream job,” said Army veteran and VetsWork AmeriCorps alum, Steve Morris-Reade. “If you are a veteran looking for a unique and great opportunity, look into this program. It very well could change your life, like it did mine.” After his AmeriCorps service, Steve was permanently hired by the Forest Service on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Since the inception of AmeriCorps in 1994, more than 1 million Americans have served through schools, nonprofits, and community organizations across the country. Over the years, these citizens have helped in the recovery of communities affected by disasters, mentored and tutored young people, connected veterans to jobs, cared for seniors, enhanced our environment, and have met other critical needs.
Mt. Adams Institute is a nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen the connection between people and the natural world through education, service learning, career development and research. More information about the organization can be found at: mtadamsinstitute.org.
AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in national service programs. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.