Climate Corps Task Force: May 2024

Attendance: Ivan Fernandez, Kristen Grant, Stacie Haines, Kate Klibansky. Staff: Kirsten Brewer 

131st Session and funding for Maine Climate Corps
No funding was received; this was a common theme, many programs did not receive funding. 

American Climate Corps
The ACC does not provide any new funding for Climate Corps programs in Maine. The White House has directed us to IRA grant funding as a resource, in addition to existing AmeriCorps grants. 
What the ACC does provide is a common recruitment platform where eligible positions may be advertised.
Maine Climate Corps Network was invited to be an implementing partner. If a program in Maine is in our Network and also meets the ACC criteria, it may be listed. 
Not all of our programs are eligible. Some do not offer any pay. Youth Conservation Corps terms do not meet the minimum of 300 hours.  
There are new Federal-level partnerships that have resulted in new Corps programs, including the NCCC Forest Corps (based out of Sacramento), the Energy Communities VISTA project (former coal country, poverty alleviation focus) and the Working Lands Corps (Univ. of Maine is a host site) focused on outreach to farmers, foresters, and landowners on climate-friendly land management practices.
Working Land Corps is a partnership between AmeriCorps and NRCS. Host sites in Maine are in Bangor and Dover-Foxcroft. Hope to invite them to join the Maine Climate Corps Network so they stay connected. All programs in the Network must attend meetings and submit quarterly reports. There are other National Direct programs that participate, though in that case, a staff member lives in Maine and is available. 
Question: Does Working Lands also cover aquaculture? Maybe? 
It looks like all the funded programs focused on forestry or land-based agriculture. However, aquaculture is an area that NRCS funds, so it probably could be possible for a future host site to focus on outreach/engagement/training/planning to and with aquaculturists on climate-friendly practices. 
New states announcing Climate Corps programs are almost all funded by the California Volunteers Fund, not by the Federal government. California Volunteers Fund would like to help other states replicate the success of the California Climate Action Corps, an AmeriCorps program in 3 focus areas: urban greening, organic waste and edible food recovery, and wildfire resiliency. A major focus of the program is that Climate Corps members create volunteer opportunities for local residents to participate in…so every Californian has an opportunity to get involved with climate action locally. 
Two new benefits of the ACC 1) access to a TradesFutures pre-apprenticeship curriculum and a new Pathways (internships) to Federal jobs. Currently, you must be a recent graduate of higher education to access the Pathway internship. In the new model completion of an AmeriCorps ACC term will be comparable to graduating from higher ed. 
There continues to be an opportunity to seek IRA funding for Maine that always includes a workforce development component that could be Climate Corps. 

Grantmaking Round-up:
Downeast Community Partners is in close-out. Three members finished their terms of service in March. One member was hired on by DCP to join their weatherization tech crew. Members received extensive training and earned valuable credentials for the energy sector. The cohort experience was strong and members felt supported and in a positive learning environment. Members also did outreach including producing a podcast about climate change. They interviewed leaders including Rep. Rielly and a local business leader. 
Now there is an opportunity to share some of the stories collected. Climate Corps Coordinator met with the members at the end of the service term to hear feedback on the program as a whole. 
Youth Climate Corps awards are currently in the contract phase and programs are gearing up for service this summer. They have received training on how to submit financial reports. Most are starting this June. 
Additional Climate Corps funding will support a Maine Service Fellow. Working with Center for Ecology-Based Economy to develop a position description. They have been a service provider for the Community Resilience Partnership and have experience helping communities do climate action plans. Hosting a Fellow will allow them to continue to work with communities and they will be in a good position to mentor and support an entry-level Fellow in this work. 
Any opportunity for regional collaboration on Climate Corps? Potentially! 
There are opportunities to apply for funding from AmeriCorps for a National Direct program that operates in multiple states. AmeriCorps funding was very competitive in the most recent cycle. Funding has stayed flat, but the cost per member (due to increased living allowances) has gone up. Re-competing programs or new programs did not do well in the most recent funding cycle. 
There could be opportunities for multiple partners across states to pursue an IRA grant. Some focus areas would make a lot of sense to scale up across the region, such as the “Gulf of Maine”, or the “Northern Forest”. Maine is a small state so accessing scale across the regions could be great. Vermont recently launched a Climate Corps, NH saw legislation passed to create a Conservation, Energy, and Resilience Corps. Massachusetts is exploring the potential for a Climate Corps has part of it’s overall climate action strategy. 

Climate Corps Network Accepting Applications
Currently there are 9 member programs. We meet quarterly, 2 meetings on zoom and 2 in-person. Some of our activities include a Legislative Awareness Day at the State House. We meet to share updates and get guidance from each other. Major focus on recruitment at the request of the programs. Climate Corps Coordinator has been attending recruitment events. Big interest from environmental studies and related majors at events such as the UMaine Career Fair. 
Please refer programs to the application if they may be a good fit.