Success and Diplomas with the CCC

man in graduation gown celebrates with family

Camarillo Corpsmember Lorenzo Patino takes photos with his family after graduating in Sacramento in June 2022.

Trying to land a good paying job when you don’t have a high school diploma can be discouraging if not outright stressful.

“I felt like a low life because I didn’t have a diploma.” said Tricia Andrews, a Corpsmember in the California Conservation Corps.

She enrolled in the CCC in December of 2019 and for the next two years worked with teachers and support staff to earn her high school diploma and get paid training at the same time. The hard work and accomplishment changed Tricia’s outlook.

“Receiving my diploma makes me feel like I can really do anything,” Andrews said. “Graduating feels like a big burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I couldn’t have accomplished this if it wasn’t for the CCC.”


Norwalk Corpsmember Tricia Andrews credits CCC staff and her teacher for having her back and keeping her motivated to earn her diploma. She says a weight and burden have been lifted from atop her shoulders.

Tricia isn’t alone in finding a path toward graduation. Each year, more than 100 Corpsmembers across California finish their needed credits through the CCC’s diploma program. At the same time, they’re being exposed to outdoor careers, receiving a monthly stipend of $2,700, and gaining scholarships to further their education.

“I never thought I would be the type of person I am today,” said Corpsmember Daydrian Fergerson. “I’m learning. I’m learning a lot about myself every day. The CCC keeps pushing me to become an even better version of myself.”

Corpsmembers work a full 40-hours completing forest resilience projects, fighting wildfires, installing energy-efficient lighting, building trails, cooking meals, and more. The hands-on, paid training can lead to careers with government agencies, non-profits, and make secondary education more affordable.

Ukiah Corpsmember Daydrian Fergerson sees a future in forestry after dropping out early in high school when his mother fell ill. He’s proud of his achievement. 

“The CCC, that’s all it is—is opportunities,” Andrews said. “What you put into it is what you get back. If you have the right support system you’re bound to reach the mountaintop.”

After work, Corpsmembers spend another 10 hours per week completing their independent course of study. CCC partner charter schools determine what each student needs to finish, and outlines a path to achieving the goal of becoming a high school graduate.

“The relationship that you make with your teacher helps you in the classroom,” said Corpsmember Lorenzo Patino. “It’s been a long journey to get my diploma. I’m happy to finally be here and celebrate.”

If you need to finish your diploma, are 18 to 25, or a U.S. military veteran under 30, you can soon be celebrating too by joining the CCC today. Click below to start the application process.