Labor and Industry Secretary Emphasizes Importance of Youth Training, Education

Discusses Pennsylvania Conservation Corps Funding at Centre County Nature Facility

STATE COLLEGE – Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito said that Pennsylvania must invest in its young people, and the initiatives that provide the education and training they need to be successful in the workplace.

“The Pennsylvania Conservation Corps gives young people from across the state opportunities to learn valuable life skills while preserving the state’s treasures,” Vito said. “Corpsmembers learn the trade and soft skills necessary to successfully take a project from start to finish. When they leave the corps, they carry these skills with them as positive and productive citizens.”

Vito emphasized the importance of the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps, or PCC, during a tour of renovated Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, or MMNC, facilities in Centre County. At the MMNC corpsmembers converted a chicken coop into office space for MMNC staff, renovated a barn for use as an environmental education center, cleared nature trails, constructed playgrounds and built a boardwalk and nature walk over the marsh.

The PCC’s mission is to develop the workplace skills, life skills and self-confidence of corpsmembers; accomplish significant conservation and historical preservation work; and carry out other projects of public benefit. The PCC is committed to a comprehensive approach that fosters a spirit of teamwork and advances the concept of individual empowerment through community service. One of the nation’s largest conservation corps, the PCC, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2009, has provided more than 14,000 young people with jobs, career and technical training and funding for education.

Vito stressed the importance of funding the PCC, noting that Senate Bill 850 calls for a $640,000 reduction of the corps’ budget – a reduction that would force the elimination of five crews and terminate prospective preservation projects.

“The PCC gives young people, from across the state, the chance to take an active role in their communities – from our largest cities to our smallest towns, and in our irreplaceable natural spaces,” Vito said. “We must provide these opportunities for corpsmembers to continue their work: helping preserve Pennsylvania for future generations.”

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