Nearly 40 young men and women spent the summer fixing up public properties in Athens County as part of the Recovery Conservation Corps (RCC).
The federal government’s economic stimulus package provided the funding through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program for the RCC in Athens County and all across Ohio. Locally, Athens County Job and Family Services has been coordinating the program with Hocking College and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The RCC participants were divided into five work crews placed at Strouds Run State Park, Lake Snowden Park, Gifford State Forest, Waterloo Wildlife Area and Hocking College. The work crews also did a few special projects in the county, such as putting in a canoe ramp for the Hocking River near The Plains.
The members all did important work, earned supportive service funding, received special training, gained experience that will help them in their careers and, in some cases, earned up to 10 college credit hours. The college credit hours were through Hocking College, and were in areas such as orientation to careers in natural resources, wood shop instruction, supervision/leadership, chainsaw operations and maintenance, recreational equipment operation and maintenance, First Aid and CPR.
“All of the participants seem pretty pleased with the program,” said Sue Pepper-Warga, who has been coordinating the RCC program for Athens County Job and Family Services. Over the summer, Pepper-Warga has seen the RCC participants become more confident workers, and she has seen how the program has helped them in numerous ways.
“For some people, it probably would have been impossible to continue on with their studies at Hocking College because of financial circumstances,” Pepper-Warga said. “This has been a big boost for them.” The participants also benefited tremendously from the work experience and the opportunity to add to their resume.
“Some of them have never had any work experiences before,” Pepper-Warga said. “It’s been really great. Our retention rate is tremendous.”
Read more about the RCC program in Athens County in additional posts that will be placed on the blog later this week.
Both photos show RCC crew members working at Strouds Run State Park. Shown in the top photo is Patrick Dailey, while Brandan Cox and Ashley Dennison are shown in the bottom photo.