“Civicorps’ mission is to re-engage young adults, so they can earn a high school diploma, gain job skills, pursue college, and embark on family sustaining careers.”
In 1983, Civicorps (formerly East Bay Conservation Corps) was founded as one of the first local conservation corps in California to provide meaningful environmental work experiences and educational opportunities for youth. A community-based nonprofit working with individuals who did not receive their high school diploma, the program provides job training, helps participants complete their GED, and links them to employment opportunities. Participants complete a paid job training program and can continue to be employed for up to a year after receiving their diploma.
Civicorps approached IBL to teach hands-on construction classes with their students. We helped to design and teach a four-week, 16 hour carpentry program placed at the Civicorps center.
Using Civicorps’ existing landscaping tools and equipment, we took students through a series of projects. We began by providing very basic instruction in tool and equipment use, and in successive workshops, we taught through hands-on learning rather than conceptual instruction. By the second week, students were deciphering blueprints and building sawhorses with the use of basic tools and a circular saw. In the final weeks, students were framing walls and learning the basics of layout for doors and windows. Their work was actually expanding the Civicorps’ facility by adding walls, improving the space, and increasing value for future participants.
Through hands-on training and skill building, we were able to inspire a handful of students to enroll in classes at Laney College. From their participation in Civicorps they were not only exposed to other industries, but also further realized their employment potential by connecting to new career pathways. All students left our workshops with more skills than they initially had, and as a result expanded their employability. These hands-on, skill building workshops served as a direct bridge to job opportunities.