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A green boost for Detroit: Conservation Leadership Corps provides jobs to 110 Detroit students
The city of Detroit is getting a much-needed "green" boost this summer, as more than 100 Detroit public high school students are participating in the Conservation Leadership Corps, a summer jobs program promoting environmental stewardship and skills development. Created and sponsored by Johnson Controls Inc., the Student Conservation Association and The Greening of Detroit, the program has returned to Detroit following the success of its launch last year.

The program in Detroit is providing 110 local students, a 20 percent increase over last year, the opportunity to earn and learn as they participate in purposeful summer employment in environmental conservation, while also receiving job readiness training.

"The Conservation Leadership Corps is a great example of a public-private partnership that is creating jobs and helping young people develop skills and experience they will need to be part of Michigan's economic transformation," said Lt. Gov. John Cherry. "We are pleased that federal Recovery Act investments have allowed this program to expand and have an even greater positive impact on the City of Detroit and its citizens."

Detroit is the third city in which Johnson Controls has launched the summer green jobs program. The company has a strong presence in the metro Detroit area, with the global headquarters of its Automotive Experience business and area offices for its Building Efficiency business.

"We are delighted to not only bring this innovative program back to Detroit, a city so affected by the current economic crisis, but to be able to increase the number of student participants, thanks to federal stimulus funds," said Charles A. Harvey, vice president of diversity and public affairs for Johnson Controls. "We are pleased to be partnering once again with the SCA and local Detroit organizations to provide this unique initiative for city teens."

"Our organization has a long history of conservation efforts in Detroit," said Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of The Greening of Detroit. "We feel it is especially important to get the city's youth involved and provide them with an opportunity to give back to the community. Through our continued partnership with the SCA, and the generous support of Johnson Controls and our other funding partners, we have been able to help create a strong and exciting program that focuses on environmental stewardship as well as job skills development."

The Conservation Leadership Corps program was launched in 2006 in Milwaukee, where Johnson Controls is headquartered, and was expanded to Baltimore in 2007. These programs continue, and this year the program has been launched in China, the United Kingdom, Germany and Mexico.

The Detroit CLC program kicked off on July 6 with the students gaining hands-on experience in environmental conservation. Over the course of the program the students will participate in a variety of projects, including landscaping, native planting, new trail development and maintenance, native timber bench construction, removing invasive species, repairing drainage and erosion issues, and constructing a greenhouse for an elementary school outdoor classroom. These, along with additional environmental and conservation efforts, are being conducted at Rouge Park, Belle Isle, the Dequindre Cut Greenway, Burton Elementary School, Meyer's Tree Nursery and Detroit's Hope District, among other locations throughout the city. The students also receive job readiness skills building where they receive help with resume writing, interview skills and personal finance management.

Corps members were selected from hundreds of candidates based on their application and ability to successfully complete a three-step, month-long tryout process. Student candidates were evaluated based on work ethic, leadership ability, civic engagement and commitment to the environment.

"SCA is about empowering young people, connecting them to nature and practicing lifelong stewardship," says SCA President Dale Penny. "As the program enters its second year, we are proud to work with Johnson Controls, The Greening of Detroit and all of our local partners to provide environmental education and career development, and to collaborate on improving Detroit's green spaces."

Additional support for the program is being provided by: Chase; the City of Detroit Community Development Block Grant and Neighborhood Opportunity Fund programs; the City of Detroit Workforce Development Department; City Connect Detroit; the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth; Michigan Works! Association; Masco Corporation Foundation; SAP Americas; and the Walmart Foundation