Tacoma-area veterans take note: The Washington Legislature is providing funding for 2013-14 that supports the hiring of recently returning military veterans for beach cleanup work.
The Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) has created two specialized all-veteran crews based in Pierce County to survey the state’s coastline and remove marine debris from shorelines. The crews will also clean up backcountry areas of beaches that are difficult for volunteer crews to reach, will provide volunteer event coordination and will be available for cleanup of debris deposited on the coast from the 2011 Japan tsunami if needed.
State funding for the all-veteran cleanup crews covers crew time, some training, travel, and disposal costs associated with coastal cleanup.
The crews are available for free to coastal entities such as state parks, cities, counties, and nonprofits that are part of a coastal preservation or conservation organization. Those entities benefiting from work will be asked to provide tidal information, secure locations for dumpsters and other materials, and contacts that can provide information about the work needed at the cleanup site.
The WCC was created in 1983 and has provided opportunities and training for more than 1,700 people, mostly young adults. The WCC also receives federal AmeriCorps funding and Washington Department of Natural Resources funding through the 2012 Jobs Now Act.
In 2011, the Washington Legislature created the Puget SoundCorps with the WCC to focus specifically on jobs for young adults and military veterans that benefit Puget Sound recovery.
WCC crew members receive minimum wage. Recently returned military veterans are eligible for behavior health training and military benefits counseling through a WCC partnership with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs.