FAQs

General

Corps are locally based organizations that engage young adults in service projects that address recreation, conservation, disaster response, and community needs. Through a term of service that could last from a few months to a year, Corps participants – or “Corpsmembers” – serve through communities while gaining work experience and developing in-demand skills. Corpsmembers are compensated with a stipend or living allowance and often receive an education award or scholarship upon completing their service. Additionally, Corps provide participants with educational programming, mentoring, and access to career and personal counseling. Learn more about Corps across the country at The Corps Network.

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and AmeriCorps grantee, engages hundreds of youth and young adults each year in programs and initiatives that improve access to outdoor recreation, restore natural habitat, protect waterways, and respond to community needs and natural disasters. Our mission is to engage youth and young adults in meaningful service, leadership development, and environmental stewardship. Learn more on our About page.

Our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our members, youth, staff, partners, and communities we serve. Throughout the pandemic, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa has been following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the state departments of health. In response to an executive order given by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz in April 2020, Conservation Corps has established a “COVID-19 Preparedness Plan”. The document has been revised, and continues to be revised, as the pandemic and our response evolves. Read CCMI’s most recent COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Handbook.

Please call our main number 651-209-9900 and select the “after-hours emergency line” from the options menu.

Our youth positions have an age restriction of 15-18 years old. Labor requirements mandate we cannot hire younger than 15 for these programs. Most of our AmeriCorps positions have an age restriction of 18-25 years old. This age restriction is defined under the American Conservation and Youth Service Corps Act, a subtitle of the National and Community Service Act of 1990. Other non-Americorps positions such as the Increasing Diversity in Environmental Careers (IDEC) program do not have an age restriction, but rather other eligibility requirements.

No. Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa is a nonprofit organization that works closely with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other local, state, federal, and nonprofit partners on natural resource projects. However, Minnesota Conservation Corps (MCC), created in 1981 by the Minnesota State Legislature, operated as part of the Minnesota Department of Resources for 22 years before the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Friends of the Minnesota Conservation Corps assumed operations of Conservation Corps in 2003. Read more on our History page.

Staff positions and youth positions are considered employment opportunities with Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa. AmeriCorps positions offered through Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa are not technically a job or employment. AmeriCorps positions are a full-time commitment to volunteer service for a full-year, six-month, or three-month term.

AmeriCorps Member FAQs

AmeriCorps is the federal agency connecting individuals and organizations through service and volunteering to tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges. It is often referred to as a domestic Peace Corps. Every year, 75,000 AmeriCorps members of all ages and backgrounds serve through thousands of nonprofit, community, and faith-based organizations, joining more than 1.2 million Americans who’ve taken the pledge to “get things done” since the program’s inception in 1994. Learn more about AmeriCorps.

As an AmeriCorps grantee, AmeriCorps members serve directly with Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa to give back to their communities while gaining a foundation of marketable skills for their future. Young adults, ages 18-25, who join our programs are enrolled as AmeriCorps members, volunteering to serve their community through environmental stewardship. As AmeriCorps members, participants receive a monthly living allowance, education award, loan forbearance, and health insurance.

Yes and no. AmeriCorps is funded by the AmeriCorps federal agency. However, virtually all AmeriCorps positions are hosted by local nonprofits, government agencies, and faith-based organizations that have applied for and received AmeriCorps grants.

CCMI’s AmeriCorps programs are for individuals ages 18 to 25. Prospective CCMI AmeriCorps members must be a US citizen, US national, or lawful permanent resident (per AmeriCorps eligibility guidelines) and successfully pass a background check before enrolling in the program. Applicants may not be eligible if they have a record of a criminal conviction, are required to register as a sex offender, or pending legal action for a serious felony or violent crime. Our programs are available to all, without regard to disability, race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or other non-merit factors.

Living allowance, and an education award to pay for college or trade school expenses, or to repay qualified student loans, loan deferment and interest forbearance on qualified student loans while in service, technical skills training and professional development, alumni network, and more. Health care benefits are provided while serving with CCMI. You may also be eligible to receive a childcare benefit if you have children under the age of 13.

During the service term, members are eligible for student loan forbearance through AmeriCorps for qualified, federal loans. Check with your loan-holder to determine if your loans are eligible.

The Education Award is a post-service benefit earned by individuals who complete approved terms of national service in AmeriCorps programs.

The award may be used to pay educational expenses at eligible post-secondary institutions or to repay qualified student loans.

Many Corpsmembers discover what they want to do during their experience in CCMI. Corpsmembers have gone on to jobs as firefighters, trail workers, park rangers, teachers, police officers, solar panel installers, small business owners, and more. Many Corpsmembers also go on to college or vocational schools, making use of scholarships earned in CCMI. See where Alumni are now.

Lodging is provided to members in our residential Summer Youth Corps program, but generally housing is not provided by Conservation Corps MN & IA. Some select programs or locations may offer limited housing opportunities. We have a CCMI housing Facebook group you can join to find housing with other Corpsmembers in the area where you will be serving.

Yes, you can serve for a total of four AmeriCorps terms with Conservation Corps MN & IA if you haven’t served prior AmeriCorps terms with other organizations. However, you can only earn the equivalent of two full-term Education Awards.

AmeriCorps members serving at CCMI receive a monthly stipend while serving. This amount ranges from $1,450/month to $1,990/month depending on the position.

Feel free to apply to all the positions you are interested in.

Youth Participant FAQs

In our Youth Outdoors program, youth earn $10.00/hour (9.5 hours per week). In our Summer Youth Corps program, $250/week allowance for the duration of the program that also includes all food, transportation, and lodging. Wage and stipends may vary from year to year.

You do not need a resume or cover letter to apply. When prompted while applying online you can select “Fill manually” to enter all your information.

CCMI’s youth programs are for individuals who are 15 to 18 years old at the start of the program. Youth Outdoors is currently open to Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Dakota County, and Minneapolis high school students in Minnesota from households at or below 80 percent of the city’s median income. Summer Youth Corps is open to youth from all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. Deaf and hard-of-hearing youth are encouraged to apply.

IDEC Program FAQs

Our priority is the safety of our program participants, partners, and community. We comply with current CDC and state guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The program has been operating virtually since March 2020, which includes all three components: fellowship, mentorship, and summer internship.

Although we originally anticipated this program to be in-person, we are complying with current CDC and state guideline to ensure everyone’s safety. We hope our participants will receive the best experience and gain multiple skills whether the full-time paid internship is virtual or in-person. The first cohort experienced their first rotational paid internship virtually the summer of 2020 and they participated in several outdoor activities around their neighborhood to reduce possible exposure.

The program is open to students attending an accredited two or four-year post-secondary institution in Minnesota. Since this program is funded through the state, students who attend school outside of Minnesota are ineligible.

The program is open to students who are authorized to work in the United States. Currently, the state agencies who support this program do not sponsor and provide OPT to international students.

You are welcome to work outside of the IDEC program if it does not interfere with the program components including meetings and the summer internship. Please keep in mind the fellowship requires participation in in-person and online meetings throughout the academic school year and a full-time paid summer internship (May – August 2021).

Please communicate with IDEC program staff if you plan to take a break or study abroad. If you take a break or have study-abroad plans that prevent you from participating in cohort meetings during the year, you may not be eligible for the stipend. If you are unable to participate in the summer internship, your participation in the program may be reevaluated.

The purpose of this program is to support students pursuing a STEM degree, in preparation for a career related to natural resources and environmental issues. Program staff understand that you may wish to change majors as you pursue your degree. If you switch your major to another STEM degree with an interest in the natural resources, then you may continue with the program. We will reevaluate your participation in the program if you change your major to a non-STEM program degree.

Age does not matter in the program. Anyone can apply to the IDEC program if they meet the minimum requirements and preferences as listed on our IDEC program page.

First-year students will need to send us a copy of their acceptance letter. If students are already enrolled in a program, you will need to send the registration page or list of classes to the IDEC program manager each semester.

We may offer resources up to four years during your undergraduate program and this depends on the situation.

You will be paired with a mentor from one of the following state agencies:

  • Minnesota Department of Natural of Resources (MN DNR)
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)
  • Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BSWR)

You will learn more about the mentorship element of the program at orientation, but you can expect to connect with your mentor over email and/or the phone and arrange in-person meetings as schedules allow. The mentorship aims to enhance college success and encourage personal and professional development.

You will receive two payments each academic year through your student account – one near the start of the fall semester (September) and one near the start of the spring semester (January). Our hope is that these stipend payments will help you pay for educational and living expenses such as tuition, books, transportation to campus, rent and/or childcare.

In your first internship, you will rotate between activities at the Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Board of Water and Soil Resources. IDEC program staff will work with agency representatives to identify projects. You can expect to work up to 40 hours per week for 12 weeks during the internship and can expect both indoor and outdoor project work. In your second and third years participating in the IDEC program you will have an internship that is specific to one of the three state agencies. IDEC program staff will work with you and the agencies to facilitate the best placement.

The program will reimburse you for travel expenses to IDEC fellow meetings (including orientation) and for travel expenses related to meeting with your mentor. IDEC program staff will outline this process during orientation.

Throughout the academic year, the cohort will meet in-person or virtually every other month. Program staff will work with you to identify transportation options if needed. The IDEC program will reimburse you for travel costs for these meetings. The cohort may also meet via web-based platforms such as Skype or Zoom meeting. IDEC program staff will let you know what technology will be used and will work with you to find access to a computer and internet as needed. Finally, you can expect individual phone call check-ins and a few in-person meetings with IDEC staff. More details will be available at orientation.

The purpose of cohort meetings is for you to develop personal and professional skills. Meetings may last for up to four hours. Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa will coordinate workshops featuring a variety of skill sets and resources that will help you successfully obtain your STEM degree. The experiences in the meetings will support your academic needs and help you prepare for your first summer internship.