Washington, D.C. - On July, 11, 2017, Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center Director Jimmy Copeland and Great Smokey Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash signed an interagency agreement rekindling this partnership to expand career development opportunities for students.
“We are fortunate to have the Oconaluftee Job Corps Center in our backyard,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “This partnership will allow hard-working youth an opportunity to acquire important trade skills as they work alongside park staff. These skills can help the transition into the workforce of tomorrow.”
For the Center’s 136 students, this agreement, which offers a variety of hands-on training and work-based learning opportunities, provides the knowledge and skills needed to be competitive for entry-level positions across multiple land management agencies. The training also offers these future land stewards a direct and sustained connection to the land. Students are compensated with volunteer hours, monetary payments, and Public Land Corps hours.
“We are truly elated to partner with the National Park Service,” said Oconaluftee Job Corps Center Director Jimmy Copeland. “This partnership brings education, awareness, and training opportunities to our youth thus creating pipelines for employment and resource awareness in their future.”
Sandwiched between the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Oconaluftee JCCCC offers the ideal location for an introduction to working in the great outdoors. From trails work to emergency support, students can put their training towards directly supporting the agency’s goals of delivering benefits to the public, sustaining our nation’s forests and grasslands, and excelling as a high-performing agency.