NPS Academy Provides Diverse Youth with Promising Career Path

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NPS Academy Provides Diverse Youth with Promising Career Path

Student Conservation Association Volunteer Opportunities Offer Productive Engagement, Route to Employment in National Parks
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students launch green careers at national parks through SCA.

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Launched in March of 2011, the NPS Academy is designed to introduce diverse undergraduate and graduate students from across the country to career opportunities with the National Park Service

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:55pm


In partnership with the National Park Service, SCA will conduct back-to-back sessions of NPS Academy, an innovative program that introduces college students of color to professional opportunities with federal resource management agencies.  Week-long sessions will be held at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming from March 4-10, in cooperation with the Teton Science Schools and Grand Teton National Park Foundation, and at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park in North Carolina/Tennessee, on March 11-17.  Thirty diverse students will attend each program.

NPS Academy addresses two key Park Service priorities: developing a workforce that reflects the broad diversity of American society, and engaging more youth in the great outdoors.  Academy members will be introduced to a range of NPS career possibilities through seminars, workshops, field trips, and recreational activities. After successfully completing the March course, participants will serve in SCA internships this summer at a variety of national parks to gain the skills and experience necessary to be eligible for employment with the NPS. 

“Through hands-on field programs in urban and wilderness settings, SCA connects thousands of African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and other youth of color to their environment every year,” notes SCA Vice President for Diversity Reginald “Flip” Hagood.  “As the National Park Service estimates 12% of its employees started their careers with SCA, we are confident that NPS Academy will provide students with an effective pathway to professional opportunities and help the parks build a more inclusive 21st century workforce.”

Hagood also notes that SCA’s roots go back to Grand Teton National Park, as the first SCA volunteers reported for duty there in 1957.

Sydney Taylor, a senior at Savannah State University, had never stepped inside a national park until last year’s pilot NPS Academy at Grand Teton.  As a result of the Spring Break course, he explored Park Service career options, connected with an NPS mentor, and returned to Wyoming as an SCA intern in July.  “I was going to become a teacher but now all I can see myself doing is working for the National Park Service,” Sydney says.  “I’ve grown so much as a person through this opportunity.”


Deirdre Fitzgerald
+1 (603) 504-3263
Student Conservation Association
Keywords: Environment | National Parks / Career Paths / Career Pathways / environment / environmental / Intern / Internships / Student Conservation Association (SCA) / Sustainability | Social Impact & Volunteering