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When the owner of a restaurant had to furlough employees from lost business due to COVID-19, Tenaya Heredia, who worked at the restaurant, lost his job, too.

Heredia started a job search and saw a job posting at Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development [EWD] for the Larimer County Conservation Corps [LCCC] and applied for the position. When EWD contacted him for an interview and offered a position with the LCCC, the job put him on a new and positive pathway in his life.

The Board of Larimer County Commissioners on Aug. 17 heard an update on the LCCC’s recently completed 2021 summer season at their regular Administrative Matters Meeting.

This summer, corpsmembers worked on a variety of projects, and most recently on erosion control, reseeding areas, and working toward opening up trails in the Cameron Peak burn scar with the U.S. Forest Service, and several other organizations. This year the LCCC was able to offer 60 youth positions in the LCCC, the largest number yet. This summer the corps has provided 27,000 hours of service county-wide.

The LCCC promotes individual development through service for the benefit of the environment and

community. The corps was created in 1986 as Operation Brightside, a summer youth job program that helped out senior citizens and worked on beautification projects. Reinvented in 1993, it focuses on youth and young adults 16 to 25 years old, to help them gain work experience while maintaining open spaces, parks, and natural lands through land stewardship.

The program has taught its members both soft skills and hard skills --- the former which are needed for leadership, positive attitudes, engagement, and social intelligence in a variety of job environments as well as hard skills which are the hands-on skillsets to succeed in employment while also giving back and benefiting their community. “For me, personally, my time has really helped hone in my leadership and communication skills, specifically like teamwork, compassion, and patience. When I started I had no prior skills and experience, and I’ve had to learn to adjust to people with different skill levels and adjust to different work levels that might be unfamiliar to us, said Heredia.”

Heredia has participated in the program for the last two years and credits the program for providing experiences and opportunities that led him to enroll at Front Range Community College which will open even more opportunities for his future. He’s looking toward completing an associate degree in natural resources, possibly working in the future with a type of tribal agency on stewardship of native lands. “The best experience was working with a variety of people and helps to broaden our world views of how many different types of people there are,” said Heredia.

“I think so highly of this program, and appreciate you sharing your story because it is helpful for us as we fund these programs to see how beneficial they really are for the county and for young people who are looking for their career path,” said Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens.

Published on: 
Monday, August 23, 2021 - 1:14pm

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