Save the Civilian Conservation Centers

Secretary Acosta and Secretary Perdue


The Civilian Conservation Centers are a federally-funded vocational program that provides job training and placement to America’s higher-risk youth in rural communities. In 1964, the CCC partnered with Job Corps, a program administered by the Department of Labor (DOL). Currently, the U.S. Forest Service (under the Department of Agriculture (USDA)) operates all 25 CCC, primarily focusing on training participants for forestry and conservation-related careers.

Since 1964, the CCC's have evolved to offer career vocations and the technical education needed to get jobs in fields of high demand. The program serves as a major deterrent to youth homelessness, youth unemployment, and entry into criminal justice or mental health systems. In short, the CCC program creates gainfully employed American taxpayers. Over 80% of CCC graduates go on to community college, full employment or the military. To help offset the cost of the program while teaching at-risk students about work ethic and teamwork, CCC students deliver millions of hours of trail maintenance, forest firefighting, and disaster recovery support that save taxpayers millions of dollars each year.  

On Friday, May 24, 2019, USDA and DOL announced that, by the end of September 2019, nine centers will close and management of the remaining 16 sites 'may' be transferred to contract operators or other partners. It appears the U.S. Forest Service was not consulted on, nor did it provide input into, the DOL/USDA decision to close the centers.  

As a result of these changes to the CCC program, more than 1,000 federal employees will lose their jobs and the more than 4,000 CCC students will experience a disruption in their education and job training.

We need your immediate support to make clear the critical role of the Civilian Conservation Centers in providing a pathway out of poverty for thousands of rural young people and the invaluable wildfire response support and pool of talented and diverse potential employees for the US Forest Service.

If your organization would like to show support please sign on by COB Monday June 3.

Please direct questions to Brittany Holder ( Communications Director, NFFE.

Thank you for your time and for sharing with others in your network!

Petition by

To: Secretary Acosta and Secretary Perdue
From: [Your Name]

As supporters of the Forest Service Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (CCC’s), we are deeply concerned by the recent announcement stating the USDA's Forest Service decision to withdraw from operating Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (CCC). We support the mission of the CCCs because of their strong focus on natural resource management, disaster response, and infrastructure and wildfire remediation projects while also providing in-demand skills and job training for disconnected young adults.

We are proud to support the Corpsmembers who were on the frontlines in response to the natural disasters that the United States experienced in 2018. For example, 3,369 students at CCCs participated in fire assessments, providing the equivalent of almost 400,000 hours of service during the height of the fire season. Students at CCCs also provided 5,000 hours of support in response to Hurricane Harvey.
In 2017, students contributed 14,000 hours treating 35,000 acres of hazardous fuels with prescribed fire and 10,000 hours of forest restoration work and over $2 million in community service projects. Students also provide a “surge” capability that can be used to boost wildfire suppression efforts when other resources are committed or not readily available. Without the hours of support contributed by the CCC students, there is the possibility that our nation’s ability to respond to natural disasters could be undermined.

In Program Year (PY) 2017, six of the top 15 Job Corps centers were Civilian Conservation Centers, including the highest performing center in the nation. Four of the five centers with the highest graduate employment rates were Civilian Conservation Centers and 16 of the 25 CCCs were in the top 10 of at least one of Job Corps’ employment-related performance measures, also in PY 2017.

The 25 CCCs span seven U.S. Forest Service regions, 17 national forests and grasslands and 16 states with a capacity to house, educate and train over 4,000 enrollees from rural and urban communities. The CCCs are the only Job Corps authorized to conserve, develop, or manage public natural resources and recreation areas; develop projects in the public interest; and respond to natural disasters. All CCCs run an award-winning Wildland Fire Program, which includes a Forest Assistant Fire Management Officer (JCFAFMO) and red-carded wildland firefighter type 2 (FFT2) crew.

The CCC’s protect and strengthen our landscapes, our communities, and our people and we urge their continued support.