Reps. Cory Mason, D-Racine, and Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, introduced a bill today to revive the Wisconsin Conservation Corps. The legislation was unveiled at historic Devil’s Lake State Park, the site of a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps and the base of one of the most active Wisconsin Conservation Corps’ crews in the 1990s.
The Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WCC) was created in 1983 to provide employment to the state’s young men and women ages 18-25. For twenty years, young people had the opportunity to participate in conservation and natural resources projects. At one time, as many as sixty WCC crews were working throughout Wisconsin, all with their distinctive WCC green hard hats. The WCC ceased operations in 2003.
Mason said, “During these tough economic times, reestablishing the WCC is more important than ever. Drawing upon Wisconsin’s proud tradition of stewardship of our natural resources, the WCC will offer experience, hope, and opportunity to the young people throughout the state struggling right now to find meaningful work and pay for higher education.”
The legislation would recreate the WCC primarily by leveraging newly available federal AmeriCorps funding. Participants would work on conservation and natural resource projects throughout the state, supervised by experienced crew leaders, while receiving a stipend and educational credit.
The bill was introduced with twenty-six other Assembly co-sponsors and will be referred to the Joint Committee on Finance, of which Rep. Mason is a member. Mason anticipates that the bill will be approved during the spring legislative session.