The Careers in Natural Resources Initiative began in 2012 when leaders from natural resource agencies, higher education, youth development organizations, environmental organizations, private industry and conservation service corps gathered to strategize around creating pathways for youth and young adults to pursue natural resource careers.
The group identified a disconnect between the availability of jobs in the natural resource sector and the youth and young adults looking for long-term, sustainable careers. To address this, Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education and the Colorado Youth Corps Association co-founded this initiative to collectively develop and execute strategies to support youth and young adult career development.
The environmental and natural resource career sectors are growing in Colorado and support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the state from Adventure Guides and Arborists to Wilderness Rangers and Water Quality Specialists. However, many youth and young adults do not know about these jobs and likewise, career influencers do not have the knowledge and tools to connect their youth audiences with these opportunities.
Since 2012, more than 330 individuals representing 110+ government, non-profit, education, and private industry partners have engaged with the Careers in Natural Resources Initiative, which has produced several resources, and holds annual events to continue to move this work forward.
To work collaboratively to create more pathways to enable ALL young adults to be educated, prepared, and qualified to enter and maintain professional, sustainable natural resource careers.
Raise awareness of natural resource careers opportunities for youth and career influencers.
Reduce barriers in applying for local, state and federal jobs.
Increase access to information about natural resource careers and jobs available.
The Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) and the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) serve as backbone organizations to facilitate this initiative.
The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education is a network of over 800 environmental education (EE) providers who work together to ensure everyone in Colorado can make everyday decisions that consider the health of the environment and communities. CAEE aims to ensure the quality of environmental education opportunities by offering resources and meaningful support to individuals and organizations that provide these services and advocates for increased access to environmental learning opportunities across the state. CAEE, a 501(c)3, has been a leader in promoting quality and access to EE in Colorado since 1989. CAEE’s programs serve schools, nonprofits, agencies, universities, businesses, and leaders and decision makers.
The Colorado Youth Corps Association is a statewide coalition of 9 accredited conservation corps that train and employ more than 1,700 youth, young adults, and veterans on conservation projects. Corps address a spectrum of stewardship needs including trail construction and maintenance, wildland firefighting and mitigation, invasive species treatment, green energy projects, and much more. CYCA also manages the largest AmeriCorps grant in Colorado, providing Education Awards that enable hundreds of members access higher education or pay down student debt. CYCA co-founded the Careers in Natural Resources Initiative in 2012 to support all Coloradans from any background or education level successfully begin a natural resources career.