The Correctional Conservation Collaborative (CCC) is a partnership between the Alliance, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Pennsylvania Department of Corrections which focuses on green job training for currently or formerly incarcerated individuals.
There is an immense lack of trained professionals in the tree care and reforestation industries, to the point that we currently do not have the capacity in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to accomplish our tree-related goals. Simultaneously, these fields are often not very diverse, and many reentrants struggle to find fruitful and fulfilling employment opportunities.
The CCC aims to tackle these issues at once, by providing comprehensive training programs in:
The Alliance’s role in this partnership is mostly in co-creating and coordinating the Riparian Forest Buffer Vocational Training. In 2019, the pilot program trained 20 inmates at Huntingdon State Correctional Institution in riparian reforestation.
Participants learned everything that they would need to be qualified to plant and/or maintain a riparian forest buffer, and got ample practice doing both at nearby sites.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic made our in-prison work impossible, so we focused on pivoting to a new approach to debut a mentorship training model for recently released individuals. The pilot of the modified Riparian Forest Buffer Vocational Training will begin in spring of 2021, when participants will be paired to a site that they visit monthly with Alliance staff to plant and maintain.
Participants will be paid contractor rates through the training, gaining experience as riparian forest buffer maintenance contractors while being trained at their sites, and will receive job placement assistance upon completion of the training.