How We Trained Early-Career Professionals on Key Skills through Climate Action Corps
By Hernán Gallo Cornejo
How do we engage all Californians in climate action while also preparing the next generation of sustainability leaders?
This is the key question the California Climate Action Corps program seeks to address. SEI is implementing the California Climate Action Corps program alongside Bay Area Community Resources (BACR), as part of California’s comprehensive strategy to address the climate crisis. California Volunteers, Office of the Governor, created this state-level climate service corps to catalyze meaningful climate action in California communities. As part of this effort, we provided climate career training to over 200 Fellows across the state this summer.
SEI Staff kicks off the training series with an orientation in June 2021
We harnessed the power and expertise of SEI’s Climate Corps fellowship program (launching sustainability careers since 2010) to provide summer Fellows with the tools to tackle real climate challenges, including food recovery, home hardening for wildfires, and urban greening. Once a week Fellows logged on to virtual training sessions that explored equity, climate careers, resilience, and networking.
Emerging professionals need to engage in meaningful hands-on work, but can also greatly benefit from additional investment in preparing them for careers that are truly transformative and create sustainable change. Confronting climate change requires “green” skills, including sustainability research, education, and environmental remediation. For these reasons, we felt it was imperative to provide in-depth training and skill development to the 200+ participants in the program.
Fellows ranging from high school and college students, to recent graduates and people later in their careers signed up for a summer of service. We developed a training program that people at any stage in their lives and careers could benefit from. One of the key elements of the training program were career panels where Fellows heard from professionals in the field and received invaluable words of advice. One fellow shared, “I thought [the career panel] was amazing to get perspective of established individuals in the environmental field, and their approach and perspective on climate.”
Advice from these professionals, paired with skill building workshops on topics like resumes, networking, environmental justice, and storytelling provided Fellows with a strong toolkit to drive forward equitable climate solutions and launch their climate careers.
Joe Biden recognizing the work of the California Climate Action Corps during a virtual wildfire briefing with western governors
Interested in connecting with us to learn more about our work on the California Climate Action Corps Program and discuss potential partnership opportunities? Send us a message email@example.com!
The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field