CCC-NOAA Providing Veterans Chance to Find Fisheries Careers
In the creeks of California military veterans are continuing their service with the California Conservation Corps. It is service to the state of California, the environment, and themselves.
“I didn’t know anything about fisheries before I started,” said Army veteran and CCC Corpsmember Joan Cardenas. “I didn’t know how to electrofish, snorkel survey, or how to identify plants. In the CCC Veterans Corps Fisheries program, I’m learning all these things that could help me in the future.”
Cardenas is among a handful of veterans enrolled in the CCC Veterans Corps Fisheries Program, a partnership with the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The program provides veterans, like Cardenas, the opportunity to work with state agencies, non-profits, and private entities to restore, maintain, and monitor streams from Ventura County to the Oregon border.
“I love it, every day that I can survey fish is a great day,” said Army veteran and Corpsmember Sam Pratt. “I just like the diversity of experience and not necessarily knowing what you’re getting into every day. This program allows for so much diversity of work as well as all the partners you’re working with.”
Veterans can enroll as Corpsmembers, where they can have housing and earn scholarship money toward continuing their education. Alternatively, veterans can live at home and as Special Corpsmembers, where they can receive higher pay.
It’s an opportunity for veterans to literally test the waters of fisheries careers.
Veterans Corps Fisheries Corpsmember Joan Cardenas uses a fishing net to capture steelhead trout in the waters of Chorro Creek in San Luis Obispo County.
“If you’re into nature and wants to learn about plants and animals this is a great opportunity,” Cardenas said. “It’s a great foot in the door. I didn’t have the qualifications for some jobs I was applying for. This program is helping me get training and it’ll look good on my resume.”
The Veterans Corps Fisheries Program has opportunities for veterans in Humboldt, Mendocino, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties. Veterans must be 18 to 29 years of age and possess a DD214 to be eligible.
Veterans Corps Fisheries Corpsmember Samuel Pratt holds a clipboard and prepares to log information as part of an e-fishing survey with California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission partners.