The California Conservation Corps
The California Conservation Corps is a department within the California Natural Resources Agency. We are the oldest and largest conservation corps in the nation.
Our program provides young adults 18 – 25 years old a year of paid service to the State of California. During their year of service, Corpsmembers work on environmental projects and respond to natural and man-made disasters. Through this work, they gain skills and experience that lead to meaningful careers. Our motto is ‘Hard Work, Low Pay, Miserable Conditions and More!’ We are dedicated to developing our Corpsmembers into citizens with character, credentials, and commitment.
Governor Jerry Brown established the CCC in 1976, modeled after the original Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. More than 120,000 young adults have served in the Corps over its 40+ year history.
- 1,634 Corpsmember positions are available
- Approximately 3,000 Corpsmembers enroll each year
- Corpsmembers must be between the ages of 18 and 25 and California residents
- Military veterans up to age 29 may also enroll
- At the present time, the CCC is about 76% men, 24% women
- Corpsmembers come from all over the state and reflect the diversity of California. The top three counties where Corpsmembers come from: San Diego, Los Angeles and San Bernardino
- The average length of stay is about nine months
- The CCC has two dozen residential and non-residential locations throughout the state
- It is the only state program with year-round residential centers
Natural Resource Work
- Since 1976, the CCC has provided 74.1 million hours of natural resource work throughout the state
- The CCC is a cost-effective labor force, working for more than 250 local, state and federal agencies each year
- Statewide, crews tackle more than 900 projects annually, generating more than $26 million for the CCC
Here are a few accomplishments since the program began:
- Trees — More than 24.6 million trees have been planted by Corpsmembers throughout the state
- Fish Habitat — More than 1.6 million hours of fish habitat improvement work
- Trails — More than 11,621 miles of backcountry trails built or maintained in California national parks and forests, with many more miles for trails in city, regional and state parks
- Parks — More than 11 million hours of work improving rural and urban parks and recreation areas
- Energy Conservation — More than three decades of energy conservation work. The CCC likes to say “Conservation is our middle name”
- The CCC has provided 11.3 million hours of emergency response on nearly every major California natural disaster — floods, fires, earthquakes and more — since 1976
- Corpsmembers have filled more than 3.5 million sandbags during floods and storms
- Along with their natural resource work, all Corpsmembers advance their education in the CCC. In the last five years, more than 3,000 Corpsmembers worked to complete their high school diplomas
- The CCC offers two different scholarships for use after the CCC
General Information About the CCC
What is the CCC?
The California Conservation Corps is a state agency, certified by The Corps Network, enrolling young adults, 18 to 25, for a year of natural resource work and emergency response. Simply stated, the CCC puts youth and the environment together to benefit both.
The young adults of the CCC work hard protecting and restoring California’s environment, responding to disasters, becoming stronger workers, citizens and individuals through their service.
How long has the CCC been around?
The California Conservation Corps was created by Governor Jerry Brown in July 1976. Governor George Deukmejian signed legislation making the CCC a permanent state agency in 1983. Click here for more CCC history.
What's the connection to the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s?
Governor Brown modeled the program in part after the federal Civilian Conservation Corps established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. The original CCC, in operation from 1933 to 1942, put men to work during the Depression. Here in California, the “CCC boys” built most of California’s state parks.
Was B.T. Collins the first director?
The late B.T. Collins served as CCC director from 1979-1981, following Boyd Hornor and LeRoy Chatfield. The irrepressible Collins helped put the CCC on the map and boasted of the CCC’s “Hard Work, Low Pay, Miserable Conditions.”
Who is the current director?
The current director of the CCC is Bruce Saito. Saito was appointed by Governor Brown in September 2015 and re-appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in February 2020. Click here to learn more about our director.
What kind of emergency response does the CCC do?
The CCC responds to fires, floods, earthquakes, oil spills, pest infestations and more. More than 12 million hours of emergency assistance has been provided to the state, and nation, since 1976. Work sponsors understand that when an emergency situation occurs, CCC crews may be called on to respond within hours. Click here for more on the CCC’s emergency response efforts.