BECKLEY, W.Va., Feb. 25, 2016 – Following an in-depth evaluation of internal operations, financial management practices, risk management practices, governance standards and youth programming operations, Citizens Conservation Corps received accreditation from the Corps Center of Excellence, the national accrediting body for Service and Conservation Corps.
As defined by The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, the programs are comprehensive youth development focused that provide young people (generally ages 16 – 25) the opportunity to serve in crews on important community and environmental projects. Corpsmembers develop job and leadership skills and earn a stipend or education award for their service. Accreditation is granted to Corps that demonstrate a high level of accountability to the communities in which they operate and the corps members they enroll.
“I would like to thank our staff and many partners for their dedication and hard work that has made this worthy goal possible” said Robert A. Martin, CEO of CCC. “We are extremely proud of the 23 years of service that our Corps has provided and look forward to continuing to serve and impact the communities where we live, work, and play.”
As an accredited Corps, CCC has proven its ability to provide safe, appropriate, meaningful experiences to the youth and adult participants they engage in a variety of service projects and programs. They have also proven their ability to provide high-quality project outcomes to their partners – including West Virginia Courtesy Patrol, National Park Service, Boy Scouts of America and AmeriCorps – with whom they collaborate to develop service and employment opportunities for corps members.
“Demonstrating that you meet industry standards is an important marketing tool for Corps that lets potential partners and stakeholders understand that your program produces high-quality outcomes,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president & CEO of The Corps Network. “It shows that Corps programs are an excellent investment that benefits both the young people they serve and their communities.”
CCC was endorsed as a 21st Century Conservation Corps; a designation granted to Corps that have been accredited through the U.S. Department of Interior or focus on projects that involve significant outdoor activity. The accreditation offers objective, independent validation that the CCC is meeting and or exceeding the standards set forth.
CCC was also recognized for several national “best practices” including the role of clearinghouse for the Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative; its strategic partnership with the Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center, which is the only partnership of its kind in the country; and its innovative service learning initiative with various Vocational Technical schools across the state.
The Corps Center of Excellence is administered by an advisory committee made up of retired and former Conservation Corps leaders, retired and former federal land management agency staff, and other experts. During the accreditation process, an accreditation team comprised of persons with expertise in Corps operations review a Corps’ service project and corpsmember outcomes, internal documents and financials. This team also conducts a multiple-day site visit at each Corps undergoing the accreditation process. Results of these reviews are presented to the advisory committee for discussion and approval. Accreditation lasts for five years with each Corps required to provide an annual update. For more information about Corps accreditation, please visit The Corps Network’s website.