NEW HARMONY, Indiana (August 18, 2009) - Governor Mitch Daniels today announced that the hugely successful Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps (YHCC), a program that has employed nearly 1,900 young adults to improve Indiana's parks, trails and natural habitats, is being extended further into the fall. The program utilizes federal stimulus funds designated for employment and training of Hoosiers 16 to 24 years old.
"Our template for stimulus funds is jobs, speed and lasting value. This program has proven to do just that. Not only have we put young people to work, but in just a short time their work has added the best kind of enduring legacy in the enhancement of Indiana's natural beauty," said Daniels.
The original program end date was September 30, but because of its success, the governor decided to extend the program to October 16, the last day of the Department of Workforce Development's seasonal designation. That means some 500 to 700 YHCC workers will stay on the job an additional two to six weeks. Nearly 1,900 young adults ages 16 to 24 were hired in five 16-week waves to fill YHCC positions beginning May 1. The jobs pay $8.50 per hour, and there are still funds in this year's budget for the extended work.
Daniels made the announcement at Harmonie State Park, where he singled out several YHCC accomplishments, including removal of invasive plants like autumn olive along the park's roadways, rehabilitation of drinking fountains and campsites, painting and cleanup of a storage building, and maintenance of mountain bike trails.
By the end of the program, YHCC workers will have restored 2,600 acres of natural habitat areas by removing invasive plant species such as multi-flora rose, honeysuckle and garlic mustard; constructed 110 miles of new trails; rehabilitated more than 1,000 miles of existing trails; and renovated dozens of structures at 100 DNR sites, including state parks, reservoirs, recreation areas, state forests, nature preserves and state historic sites.
The state received approximately $24 million in federal stimulus funds through the Workforce Investment Act to hire workers for the 91-county program (Marion County funding was separate). Provided the program continues to be effective, the state will seek to renew it in 2010.
Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps projects that have been completed:
- Morgan-Monroe State Forest, 25 miles of trails have been renovated. Also, a fire tower has been painted and is being fitted with new stairs and landing.
- Yellowwood State Forest, a new roof has been put on a shelter house and a much-needed 3,100-square-foot storage building is nearing completion.
- Clifty Falls State Park, construction of a bridge in the style of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps.
- Brown County State Park, replacement of stone steps and rock wall at a shelter house.
- Spring Mill State Park, rehabilitation of buildings in the Pioneer Village.
- Pokagon State Park, installed 1,200 tons of glacial till to curb bank erosion at the group camp.
- Trine State Recreation Area, removed a 1,200-square-foot two story building.
- Tippecanoe River State Park, application of asphalt sealer on the park office parking lot and trimmed seven miles of park roadsides.
A map of Indiana DNR properties that are a part of the Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps program can be found at this address: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Press/DNR_properties.pdf
For updated information regarding Indiana's use of federal stimulus funds, please visit: INvest.in.gov
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