Dane County Partners with Operation Fresh Start to Develop Dane County Civilian Climate Corps

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi

March 16

Today, County Executive Joe Parisi announced the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change will partner with Operation Fresh Start to develop plans for the Dane County Civilian Climate Corps. County Executive Parisi included $93,000 in his 2022 budget for Operation Fresh Start to create a plan that provides emerging adults with hands-on opportunities to mitigate climate change in the Dane County community, with an emphasis on addressing environmental equity. The program will be modeled after Dane County’s highly successful Dane County Conservation Crews.

“The Dane County Civilian Climate Corps will help our community reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy consumption, all while giving our younger residents opportunities to gain work experience and learn about potential careers in the green energy sector,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We are excited to take this next step in developing the Civilian Climate Corps program and thank Operation Fresh Start for their continued partnership.”

Over the course of 2022, Operation Fresh will start to engage a Core Team, as well as an Advisory Group, in developing an implementation-ready program that identifies specific hands-on training opportunities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or mitigates the effects of climate change. The program plan will include engagement strategies for low-income emerging adults to access hands-on experience and career pathways in green industries, while developing a list of potential program partners, an annual operating budget, and estimated environmental impact of emission reductions and energy savings.

The Core Team is comprised of leaders from nonprofits, academia, and businesses who are actively engaged in climate change, climate change mitigation, and environmental quality. Their input will help steer pathways for program participants and shape the program direction. Advisory Group members are representatives from nonprofits, academia, climate change, environmental equity, and emerging adult employment and training. With their input, the Advisory Group will provide general direction and feedback on plan development.

“Operation Fresh Start is excited about leading our community’s effort to develop a local Civilian Climate Corps,” said Operation Fresh Start Executive Director Greg Markle. “As an organization, Operation Fresh Start works with emerging adults at the crossroads of conservation and community. We are most excited to include the voice of our young people in this discussion. This is an opportunity for the next generation to impact our climate today and into the future.”

With the County Executive’s $93,000 budget allocation, the aim is to have a Dane County Civilian Climate Corps that is ready to receive federal, state, or local funding to operate.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi established the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change in 2017 to further the county’s efforts to address climate change. As a division within the County Executive’s Office, the Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change works with local governments, businesses, community groups and other stakeholders to identify innovative ways to reduce countywide greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with the County’s 2020 Climate Action Plan.