Beginning today, applications for 130 new positions designed to help both the environment and the economy as part of the Hawaiʻi response to the economic impacts of COVID-19 are now open.
Governor David Ige and the Hawaiʻi State Legislature approved the use of $5 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to support a new Green Job Youth Corps. DLNR is the administering agency and has partnered with Kupu, Hawai‘i’s conservation and youth education nonprofit, to provide funding that will expand the existing Kupu ‘Āina Corps program.
The program will give those in sustainability jobs, who have been economically disadvantaged by the pandemic, opportunities and resources to support their recovery. As the program manager, Kupu is now accepting applications for both full-time and part-time job applicants and for sustainability organizations interested in serving as host sites for Kupu ʻĀina Corps members. It will be similar to the 2020 Kupu ʻĀina Corps program, in which Kupu and the State provided over 350 displaced workers and recent graduates with jobs and training in natural resource management and sustainable agriculture. In addition to caring for over 21,700 acres of land, the program generated an estimated $6.5 million in economic benefits for Hawaiʻi while costing less than half that amount. Additionally, one in three participants reported finding long-term employment at the end of the program, and half reported either finding long-term employment or were pursuing higher education.
Full-time and part-time positions throughout the state are available and are ideal for applicants looking to move into or return to work in a sustainability-related industry. Participants will gain real life experience through a variety of areas related to natural resource management, agriculture, conservation, renewable energy, or other sustainability professions. All eligible applicants 17 and older will be considered, but Kupu strongly encourages applications from participants between the ages of 20 and 40, as that group was identified in the legislation funding the program.
Depending on host site availability, positions may address a broad spectrum of topics, including aquatic and terrestrial resource management, outreach, mapping, native species restoration, invasive species removal, renewable energy, sustainable farming, and more. Host sites can include nonprofits, for-profit businesses, and government agencies. The program is ideal for businesses trying to grow, or to figure out how to hire and retain qualified employees. The Kupu ‘Āina Corps positions are structured as a cost share, with Kupu covering roughly 75 percent of costs and host sites covering roughly 25 percent ($12,000 per participant). Host sites pay a small fraction of the true cost of adding to their workforce and growing their industry this way.
The round one deadline for applications is December 10, 2021, with a final deadline of January 7, 2022.