Urban Corps of San Diego County

Urban Corps provides youth ages 18-25 with a second chance high school education, life skills, career services, and paid job training on environmental and community projects, which assist youth in becoming employable while protecting resources and instilling the importance of community service.

Location: San Diego , CA
Year founded: 1989


Modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, the Urban Corps was founded in 1989 to tackle the challenges of youth unemployment and soaring high school dropout rates. The conservation corps model addresses disadvantaged young people’s needs for education and job skills and also the broader community’s needs for environmental and neighborhood improvements. This multi-faceted program blends high school education, real-world job training, industry-recognized certifications, life skills coaching, support services, college and career placement, and strategic community partnerships. Youth participants, called Corpsmembers, participate in paid job training projects three days a week and attend Urban Corps Charter High School two days a week. The Corps-to-Career case management team supports Corpsmembers through counseling, life skills workshops, and referrals to community resources. These activities provide stability in Corpsmembers’ lives, allowing them to focus on completing the program and successfully transitioning to higher education or the mainstream workforce.

Urban Corps is more than a second chance program; it is an opportunity for youth to positively re-engage in the community, and an opportunity for the community to constructively invest in its own future. Our workforce development programs offer youth a chance to learn transferable job skills in the fields of environmental services, community improvement services, urban forestry, recycling, and green construction. Whether they are painting out graffiti in Carlsbad, restoring habitat in the San Dieguito River Valley, or providing special event services for the Del Mar Village Summer Solstice, trainees see that their work makes an immediate, visible difference in their neighborhoods. Participating as a Corpsmember has been shown to lower the incidence of incarceration, gang involvement, and drug abuse, while increasing self-esteem, commitment to community, and sense of environmental responsibility.

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