The VFC engages recent era Veterans on priority hazardous fuels projects while developing the next generation of wildland firefighters.
The VFC successfully addresses two needs 1) veterans who need a way to transition from military to civilian service and 2) land management agencies who need highly qualified and well trained employees. The VFC builds upon the knowledge, leadership experience and training of the men and women who served in the armed forces, retraining them and refocusing their mission to protecting our public lands from the threat of wildfire.
THE MODEL: The Veterans Fire Corps targets recent era Veterans, generally between the ages of 23-35. Veterans joining the program are AmeriCorps members, receive a living stipend, training, and support while working on projects varying in length from 12-weeks to six months. Veterans enrolled in the program receive all mandatory training to become certified as a Firefighter Type 2. They are then utilized on thinning projects, pile burning projects and prescribed burns.
Most applicants applying to the program are searching for a way to transition from the military to civilian world. The mission of the program completes when, after serving with the Veterans Fire Corps, crew members gain employment as wildland firefighters. Because many of the VFC crews work alongside agency fire crews, they often are able to network and learn about opportunities locally and make connections.
PROJECTS: The projects VFC crews complete are critical to forest and community health across the country. Wildfires continue to burn hotter, faster and more frequently. Fuels reduction, fire mitigation and prescribed burn assignments that VFC crews are tasked with are critical to insuring that, if a wildfire does burn, effects are mitigated.
IMPACT: Veterans Fire Corps impacts the Veterans engaged with VFC as well as communities where VFC crews operate. The VFC helps Veterans transition from military service to equally meaningful civilian service in a structured, safe and impactful way. The transition is facilitated by completing meaningful work in local communities protecting people, property and resources from the threat of catastrophic wildfire.
Conservation Legacy launched a robust program for recent-era veterans in 2009 to assist them in transitioning their strong skill sets to civilian purposes through wildland fire management training and experience. The Veterans Fire Corps (VFC) was the first of its kind in the country, and Conservation Legacy has since engaged seven other corps to replicate the model to serve more veterans.
The Veterans Fire Corps (VFC) engages recent era veterans on priority hazardous fuels and prescribed burn projects while developing the next generation of wildland firefighters. The VFC successfully addresses two needs 1) veterans who need a way to transition from military to civilian service and 2) land management agencies who need highly qualified and well trained employees.
Veterans Fire Corps crews aid our National Forests in critical fuels reduction projects that are often not completed due to lack of funding and resources being diverted to fire suppression activities. Reducing fuels is critical to the long-term health of our forests and mitigating catastrophic wild fires, with the critical benefit of protecting local communities and improving overall forest health.
To learn more about the Veterans Fire Corps Positions we have available, please see our open position database. We have VFC opportunities in Colorado, Arizona, Tennessee, North Carolina and several other locations.
If you are a land management agency representative interested in partnering with the Veterans Fire Corps program, please contact:
Paul Schmidt, Western Region Executive Director, email@example.com,
Gail Barille, Eastern Region Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Joey Ruehrwein, National Director of Partnerships and Development, email@example.com
The DoD SkillBridge program is an opportunity for Service members to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during the last 180 days of service. SkillBridge connects Service members with industry partners in real-world job experiences.
For Service members SkillBridge provides an invaluable chance to work and learn in civilian career areas. For industry partners SkillBridge is an opportunity to access and leverage the world’s most highly trained and motivated workforce at no cost. Service members participating in SkillBridge receive their military compensation and benefits, and industry partners provide the training and work experience.
SkillBridge is an excellent benefit for installation and Unit Commanders who have members nearing military separation. SkillBridge can help Service members bridge the gap between the end of service and the beginning of their civilian careers. Commanders can greatly ease this transition to civilian life by supporting their reports’ interest in SkillBridge. When mission permits, Commanders who support SkillBridge participation are helping their personnel transition more seamlessly from service to a civilian career with a trusted employer.
Separating Service members can be granted up to 180 days of permissive duty to focus solely on training full-time with approved industry partners after unit commander (first O-4/Field Grade commander in chain of command) provides written authorization and approval. These industry partners offer real-world training and work experience in in-demand fields of work while having the opportunity to evaluate the Service member’s suitability for the work.
If you are interested in SkillBridge opportunities, please contact Taylor Ardis, Veteran Programs Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The combination of completing meaningful work and engaging with a cohort of Veterans focused on a common goal is what makes the VFC program so impactful. It contains the mission, structure, camaraderie and sense of professional and personal purpose that is critical to helping current-era Veterans transition for a successful career in the military to a successful career back at home.
Veteran Fire Corps programs are supported by private-public partnerships with conservation corps, land management agencies and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Conservation Legacy partners with the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Nature Conservancy and others to bring the Veterans Fire Corps to fruition.
Please contact Joey Ruehrwein, National Director of Partnerships and Development, email@example.com if you are interested in a Veterans Fire Corps partnership.