Over the past 27 years, nearly 15,000 young Pennsylvania citizens have served in the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps. Aged from 18-25, these individuals have gained valuable work skills, helped bolster their communities through a variety of conservation and disaster relief related projects, and gone on to become productive members of the workforce. Now, however, the program that served as a confidence builder and stepping stone for so many young people has been targeted for elimination.
In an effort to address a $10.4 billion state budget debt, Pennsylvania politicians have decided that eliminating funding for a program that has an approximate budget of $4.6 million dollars will be a step in the right direction (or, for those keeping track, making up for approximately 0.04% of the budget shortfall) . There are people like myself who hope that this does not happen because we think the benefits provided by the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps far outweighs its costs, especially for the 250+ people the program enrolls annually.