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Contact: Leanna Williams
Phone: 541-848-7353
Email: [email protected]
Youth Conservation Corps now hiring 16-to-18-year-olds

Collaboration between Heart of Oregon Corps and the U.S. Forest Service ensures that conservation jobs remain available for Central Oregon youth this summer.

Bend, Oregon- April 18, 2024 – Long summer days are ahead, and Heart of Oregon Corps’ Central Oregon Youth Conservation Corps (COYCC) program has summer jobs for young people! This is a great opportunity for youth ages 16-to-18-years-old to gain job skills and learn more about natural resources while improving public lands and reducing the threat of wildfires in our community.

65 local youth will be selected for this competitive summer program and earn $15 an hour, working 36 hours a week. Hands-on projects in Central Oregon’s beautiful forests and high deserts include building trails, maintaining fences, piling hazardous fuels, restoring campgrounds, and improving wildlife habitat on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland.

“We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Heart of Oregon Corps to provide local jobs for Central Oregon youth,” said Shane Jeffries, Forest Supervisor, Ochoco National Forest & Crooked River National Grassland. “The work they do not only provides job skills and training, but it also makes a significant difference on our public lands.

That’s not all! This year we are establishing the program’s first LGBTQ and Tribal Youth affinity crews to break historical barriers in conservation. These crews aim to increase accessibility and representation on public lands while fostering transformative community experiences outdoors. Led by mentors who reflect the youths’ identities, the crews connect with queer and indigenous mentors from the USFS, BLM, and other organizations. Weekly topics, such as Queer History Outdoors or Tribal Practices on the land, will foster cultural celebration and a sense of belonging, building a supportive network. This approach enables both collective and individual growth and empowerment for queer and indigenous youth.

The program runs from June 24th through August 15th. Members will work 9 hours a day Monday through Thursday. Youth crews meet daily in Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Prineville, La Pine, Crescent, Madras, and Warm Springs. In this program, youth will gain work experience, leadership skills, and guided professional development, all while earning money and making friends!

Heart of Oregon Corps operates the Central Oregon Youth Conservation Corps program in partnership with the US Forest Service and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.
“The COYCC program not only helps the U.S. Forest Service accomplish mission critical work but also stimulates the regional economy by providing jobs and increases community involvement in public land management by engaging local youth, ” said Christine Meyers, Deschutes National Forest Partnership Program Manager. “This program exemplifies the powerful impact organizations can have when working together.”

Applications must be received by May 1st and are available online at For more information, contact Summer Programs Manager at [email protected] or Forest Service YCC Coordinator Nick Swagger at (541) 480-0915.

COYCC Youth Crew
About Heart of Oregon Corps
Heart of Oregon Corps is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth and young adults through employment, job training, education, and service to Central Oregon communities. Youth and young adults transform their own lives while improving their communities. All HOC programs apply a “work-earn-learn” model that invests in local young people, many of whom come from underserved backgrounds, to prepare them for the workforce and to develop their leadership. HOC is accredited by the Corps Center for Excellence. Heart of Oregon Corps trains tomorrow’s workforce today—and they are accepting youth applications now! For more info or to apply, visit

About Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland
Located near the geographic center of Oregon, the Ochoco National Forest consists of 845,498 acres of land divided into three ranger districts: Crooked River National Grassland, Lookout Mountain, and Paulina. The Forest is headquartered in Prineville, Oregon.

The Forest administers land in the Maury and Ochoco mountains, which are southward extensions of the Blue Mountains physiographic province. Most of the Forest is drained by the Crooked and Deschutes rivers. Part of the north slope of the Ochoco Mountains drains into the John Day River. The forest is lush and beautiful with miles of roads and trails to enjoy, including three Congressionally designated wilderness areas.

About Deschutes National Forest
Deschutes National Forest, bordered to the west by the Central Oregon Cascade mountains, encompasses nearly 1.6 million acres and offers year-around recreation opportunities. It is home to 5 Congressionally designated wilderness areas, several wild and scenic rivers, and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, boasting more than 54,000 acres of lakes, lava flows, and spectacular geologic features.

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