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YouthWork Industries

Strengthening young people and their communities through service.

Building BoardwalkPictured Rocks.jpg

Now recruiting for Summer 2024!

Getting Things Done for Michigan!

YouthWork is a unique program designed to strengthen young people and their communities by completing conservation and skilled trades projects for nonprofits and government agencies. We all benefit from YouthWork!

Our participants receive hands-on experience and tackle local and global challenges while they earn living stipends, scholarships, and 21st century job skills.

Our project partners receive quality services, save valuable resources, and get critical projects completed by trained YouthWork crews.

Our local businesses benefit from a more skilled and prepared workforce – employees our local economy needs to thrive!

Our communities (that’s you!) enjoy new and improved trails and boardwalks, cleaner rivers, lakes, and shorelines, and hundreds of thousands of newly planted trees and native plants.


Since launching in 2018, more than 300 YouthWork AmeriCorps members have provided 100,000+ hours of community service for 200+ partners at 300+ project sites contributing to: 



100,000 native plants and trees planted

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2,500 acres of public land improved for habitats, parks, and historic sites



75 boardwalks, staircases, and viewing decks constructed or repaired

Tequila and Mary Trail Building Hiawatha National Forest.jpg


300 miles of trail constructed or improved



250 historic and public structures constructed or rehabbed

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$800,000+ earned in living stipends + more than $300,000 in scholarships

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90 miles of riparian
corridor restored

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30 tons of recycled material diverted from the waste stream


Participants are assigned to a crew with 3-5 other young adults from their local community and a Crew Leader. YouthWork crews serve their own community, with most projects completed within 50 miles of participants' homes. Transportation to the daily project site is provided.

YouthWork crews GET THINGS DONE for our local communities - from planting trees, building boardwalks, or historic preservation to removing invasive species, wildlife conservation, weatherization projects, trail development and rehab, and more.


YouthWork activities intentionally reduce negative impacts on our environment while preparing young people for adulthood and instilling an appreciation for conservation and the outdoors.

Image by Matt Artz



At the heart of YouthWork is an inclusive culture where our diverse members are met with respect and kindness. As a mission-driven program, YouthWork proudly accepts and deliberately recruits participants from varying backgrounds, with varying talents and capabilities, especially targeting young adults who face barriers to employment, women, and members of the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disability communities. We employ caring, skilled, and dedicated staff who support our members as they work towards their individual goals.

YouthWork understands that our members come to us at different places – some may be experienced and ready to act as a leader on their crew while others have never had a job and still need help keeping a schedule, developing a routine, and being a reliable team member. It is our members that we serve, who in turn serve their communities as AmeriCorps members.

Click below to learn more about joining YouthWork.


With limited budgets and capacity, Michigan nonprofits and government agencies are often forced to delay important conservation and service projects. YouthWork allows for the completion of these projects at a reduced cost, saving valuable resources and enhancing community spaces for all to enjoy. Studies show that programs like YouthWork can reduce project expenses by up to 50%.

YouthWork has significant experience completing conservation and skilled trades projects. YouthWork’s 150+ partners are continuously pleased with the quality of our work and 100% of YouthWork partners say in evaluations they would hire YouthWork again.

Members are assigned to crews and crews are assigned to projects based on the skills, location, and needs of our partners and participants. We bring the tools, equipment, and labor to GET THINGS DONE for you! Depending on your Scope of Work, some projects are completed in a day or less, while others take weeks or months. 

Click the button below to learn more about hiring YouthWork for your project or about partnering on a grant-funded project.



  • Light Construction
  • Fall/Spring Cleanups
  • Trail Development
  • Historic Preservation
  • Shoreline/River Remediation
  • Weatherization
  • Tree Plantings
  • Deferred Maintenance
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Invasive Species Removal
  • And so much more!

YouthWork’s financial partners are vital to the program’s success. YouthWork is partially supported by a federal AmeriCorps grant and the remaining program costs are covered by fees-for-services we collect from project partners who hire YouthWork to complete projects at a fair, discounted rate. 

More grants and donations means more savings for our project partners and communities. Grants and donations received by YouthWork reduce or eliminate the fees charged for projects and, thus, reduces or eliminates the direct cost to our project partners and communities. This means your investment not only supports YouthWork and our vulnerable participants, but our community partners as well. 

Completing projects at a free or reduced rate also allows YouthWork to build our reputation and engage new partners that can afford to pay fees-for-services and eventually will. This helps the program grow sustainably and strengthens the YouthWork model.

Augusta, Tequila, Mary, Olivia travellin

“We are very appreciative for the enthusiastic boots-on-the-ground crews from YouthWork – these young people are providing critical labor to help meet our goal of planting 100,000 native trees under CRA’s Wild Roots initiative, and at the same  me picking up professional skills we might tap in the future!” 


Amy Beyer, Director,
Conservation Resource Alliance


“I wanted to send a huge THANK YOU to the YouthWork crew that was out this fall for all their hard work. The staff here were very impressed by the work ethic demonstrated by both crews while they were here and we have nothing but great things to say about Erin who was a fantastic leader. We truly appreciate all the extra help with the monumental task we undertake each fall cleaning up leaves, sticks, and other debris from the park grounds to prepare for next season.”


Ben Dietrich, Unit Supervisor, Mitchell State Park, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Boarding the Boat to Fox Island - Tequil

“Through the efforts of YouthWork, Keweenaw National Historical Park has made strides engaging young people from our own community on preservation maintenance projects for Keweenaw Heritage Sites. These place-based projects and educational experiences give high school students the chance to contribute in a meaningful way by interacting with site volunteers of all ages. YouthWork's collaboration builds trust and understanding across generations and provides participants with the opportunity to develop leadership skills, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment and civic pride. I love YouthWork!”


John Rosemurgy, Historical Architect, Keewenaw National Historic Park, National Park Service

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“We have worked with YouthWork on trail-building and maintenance projects at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for several years (Kettles Trail and Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail). YouthWork crews have been hard-working, disciplined, and friendly. They have worked well with National Park staff and our volunteers, resulting in seamless and effective teamwork between the three groups. We plan to have them back again.”


Kerry Kelly, President,
 Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes


“YouthWork helps students who need soft skills training, hands on experience, trades skills, and just learning things like how to keep a schedule, show up on time, and be reliable and motivated. We have found that this program is a really good fit for many of our students.”

Mimi Kinney, Transition Coordinator, Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District

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“The opportunity to hire YouthWork on resource management and recreational improvement projects along the Boardman River and in our area public parklands presents a great opportunity to not only get work done at a fair labor rate but also instill a sense of pride and stewardship in our youth.”


Steve Largent,
Conservation Team Coordinator, Grand Traverse Conservation District

National Park Service |  National Park Foundation |  National Forest Foundation  | US Forest ServiceMichigan Department of Natural Resources | SER Metro-DetroitUS Fish and Wildlife Service | Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy | Little Traverse Bay Conservancy | Leelanau Conservancy | HeadWaters Land Conservancy | Upper Manistee River Association | Bay Area Recycling for Charities | Grass River Natural Area | Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes | Inland Seas | Oryana Natural Foods Co-Op |  Conservation Resource Alliance | Benzie Area Christian Neighbors | Grow Benzie Goodwill |  Watershed Center Grand Traverse | Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians | Reining Liberty Ranch | Peace Ranch The Optimist Club | Antrim Conservation District |Benzie Conservation District | Grand Traverse Conservation District | Leelanau Conservation DistrictNewaygo Conservation District | Mason-Lake Conservation District | Wexford Conservation District | Bay Area Recycling for Charities | Fox Island Lighthouse Association | Emmet County Parks and Recreation |  Newaygo County Parks & Recreation | Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation | Leelanau County Parks & Recreation | Bingham Townhip Parks & Recreation | Traverse City Parks & Recreation | Ludington State Park | Mitchell State Park | Habitat for Humanity Wexford-Osceola | Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse | Cherryland Humane Society | Friends of the Jordan River  | Earthwork | HistoriCorps | Camp Petosega | Hiawatha National Forest | Huron-Manistee National Forest | Shiawassee National Wildlife Reserve | Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore | Keewenaw National Historic Park | Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Project Partners


National Project
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YouthWork Conservation Corps is one of four programs nationwide and the ONLY program in Michigan to be awarded the 2020 Project of the Year from The Corps Network in recognition of their unique partnership with Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD).


The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, presents this prestigious award on an annual basis to Corps that have undertaken especially influential or innovative initiatives.

Contact Us


Want to join YouthWork or learn more?

Mary Williams, Member Support Coordinator

(231) 946-8975 ext. 1205

Want to hire YouthWork, partner on a project,
or learn more about our capabilities?

Rick Magee, Field Director

(231) 564-0522

Have other questions or want to talk about
investing in our program?

Mary Williams, AmeriCorps Director

(231) 946-8975 ext. 1205

Bill Watson, YouthWork Director

(231) 946-8975 ext. 1143


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