Corpsmembers Reach New Career Heights

Judith hails from Hayward and wanted to work in and around nature.

“Working outdoors – I love nature. I see how more and more, we’re destroying the environment and I wanted to work in some capacity helping future generations. I wanted to know that I was doing something about it.”

– Judith V.

Combined with his desire to work outdoors, Union City native Jamarr likes to be able to look back at the end of day and see what he completed.

“Before [Civicorps], I was with the [California Conservation Corps]. All we did was conservation work, like fuel reduction, so I had been doing a whole bunch of conservation work for the past three years.”

– Jamarr M.

What do these two Corpsmembers have in common?  Drum roll, please! Civicorps is excited to announce that Judith and Jamarr will be joining EBMUD for a year-long internship, starting this week! These two spectacular young adults will be the inaugural interns for EBMUD’s Community Trainee Program positions.

These positions came to fruition after a year of conversation and planning with EBMUD management. Discussion began in March 2021, in a bid to explore how to build a stronger partnership, get Corpsmembers hired into great jobs, and how to build a pathway into employment with EBMUD.

Now, our unique partnership has resulted in the creation of two 1-year Community Trainee Program (CTP) internship positions in the Operations and Maintenance Department, allowing for a young person to transition beyond Civicorps and into working with one of the East Bay’s largest employers. The CPT will cycle through teams focused on grounds maintenance, paint and carpentry, giving them exposure to a variety of jobs and skills.

“The idea of an internship was of course not new to EBMUD but the logistics are always tricky – funding, supervision, hiring process, job description, agreement from labor, etc.,” recalls Civicorps Executive Director Tessa Nicholas. “But, our extensive track record and over 35 year partnership provided a solid foundation to build on as we shared details on the training our Corpsmembers receive and the wrap-around support we provide.”

“Honestly, for me, being a woman, a lot of people I know were against what I was going to be doing – in me taking ‘a man’s role’ or me ‘not being strong enough,’” reflects Judith. “There was a point where I was listening to them. But now, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I was thinking of quitting at the beginning, thinking I wasn’t going to make it, there was like so many things to learn. Now after being here for eight to nine months, I really know how to work power tools, I know how to troubleshoot them. I even know how to identify invasive plant species. I’m happy and proud that I haven’t been listening to the negative comments.”

Judith has worked on a range of projects such as the Pallet Partnership, which earned Civicorps (alongside fellow California corps LA Conservation Corps and San Jose Conservation Corps) 2022 Project of the Year by the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps. Judith also helped restore a habitat for local wildlife.

“I think I’m helping to break barriers, making a difference for future generations. I feel like for them, it’ll be easier seeing that there’s more women in the field.”

For Jamarr, no newbie to the conservation industry, Civicorps was a means to build his network among the organizations he had his eye on for employment: Waste Management, EBMUD, EBRPD, & the Port of Oakland.

Civicorps’ Support Services offers wrap-around support for plenty of Corpsmember needs. Among them includes career counseling, with workshops often happening every Friday. Jamarr appreciated the resume workshops, helping to hone and fine tune cover letters and the interview process.

“I built a lot of good relationships with the people [at Civicorps], [it] was a necessary stepping stone for my career.”

Without a doubt these stellar Corpsmembers brought their experience to the table and made these new roles happen for themselves. We cannot wait to see more of their accomplishments as they settle in their new roles!

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