About the LA Corps
The LA Conservation Corps was founded in 1985 by former U.S Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor and a group of passionate Los Angeles civic leaders who were inspired by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which provided jobs, education, and hope to young men during the Great Depression. The Young Adult Corps program began operations in 1986 in a decommissioned fire station with 27 former gang members who were committed to turning their lives around. Since then, we have helped thousands of underprepared young adults engage in the job market, complete their high school education, and point their lives in a positive direction. Clean & Green was established in 1988 to offer a “first job experience” to middle and high school students during school breaks and teach a solid work ethic and marketable job skills that will benefit them all their lives. In 1993, we started the After School Program to fill gaps in the public education system.
We have led the way in a national conservation and service corps movement that encompasses more than 100 corps in every state and the District of Columbia. These programs exist in urban and rural communities and employ more than 26,000 young people annually in a variety of conservation and service projects.
The LA Conservation Corps has won numerous awards for its activities and has been recognized for the quality of its programs:
Our workforce development programs offer youth and young adults paid work experience on a variety of conservation projects as well as the chance to build valuable life skills and personal resilience in a supportive environment. Some of those projects include:
- building parks and community gardens,
- planting trees,
- refurbishing hiking trails,
- removing graffiti, and
- cleaning alleyways.
Corpsmembers can earn a high school diploma through our affiliated charter school and the support services and case management they need to remove their barriers to success. Our goal is to give under-served young adults the chance for a meaningful, living-wage job with a career pathway or college or vocational school experience with future prospects for employment.
Our After School Program provides academic enrichment, arts and humanities, athletics, and recreational activities for thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students in dozens of Los Angeles Unified School District schools every year.
The LA Conservation Corps:
DEI Commitment Statement
The founders of the LA Conservation Corps were inspired by the Civilian Conservation Corps which provided jobs, education, and hope to young men during the Great Depression. Since 1986, we’ve served over 30,000 youth and young adults from Los Angeles’ historically marginalized communities. These young people, whom we call “Corpsmembers”, build their own resilience as they support community and climate resiliency efforts in their neighborhoods and throughout the Los Angeles region.
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is embedded in our mission – who and how we serve and what we’re striving to achieve through the Corps’ work. We were called to formally commit to the work two years ago and are on a journey to bring DEI out in front of our work now and to be anti-racist in everything we do.
This commitment to DEI extends beyond the organization to the communities where our Corpsmembers live and work and the overall natural environment we seek to improve. At the Corps, we pledge to
- Create a safe space for all individuals to bring their full identities to the spaces in which we work without judgment.
- Ensure our Corpsmembers have access to a diverse collection of resources to support their needs in their personal lives and as they build their future careers, so they not only survive but thrive.
- Hold ourselves accountable for ensuring our work serves historically and currently excluded communities first.
- Promise to look for new and inspired ways to develop, build and empower our staff and Corpsmembers to be change agents for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Recognize that this work is ongoing work that we are committed to embedding into our daily practices.
- Make the Corps a place of belonging and acceptance that welcomes all young people, and where staff and leadership are reflective of our Corpsmembers’ diversity.
- Strive to seek ways to be creative and innovative to improve how we honor the environment and collaborate with our community.
We acknowledge that the lands on which we work were taken from those who lived here before. We actively give honor back to those from whom it was taken by beautifying those same lands and returning them to their natural forms. When possible, we will identify, share information on and celebrate with our Corpsmembers the indigenous people who called our project and program sites home.
What do we mean when we say…
“Survive and Thrive”:
- Survive – existing without meeting their full potential and while being hindered by barriers; not able to serve oneself or one’s communities.
- Thrive – able to achieve goals and milestones even when faced with challenges and barriers; motivated to continuously progress and learn and able to do so independently.
“The communities we are serving”: The Corps currently serves young adults of the Black and Latine communities who have previously been and are currently overlooked for improvements in both green space and community beautification.
“Change agents”: When we say change agents, we want our staff to:
- teach their Corpsmembers to not be bystanders but instead take action,
- inspire and influence others to lead in an inclusive way, and
- embody the 4 types of change at the Corps: emotional champion, developmental strategist, intuitive adaptor, and continuous improver.