Maine Climate Corps Task Force

June 20, 2024 Climate Corps Task Force

Planning for Climate Corps Stakeholders Meeting-July 19, 2024

The Task Force is planning on hosting a Maine Climate Corps Summit to bring together stakeholders including interviewees of the original report, people who have been civically engaged with the Climate Corps to date, and others. 

The key goals of this meeting include: 
•    Assess existing Maine Climate Corps project priorities and identify new priorities (as needed) vis a vis the 2024 Climate Action Plan update. 
o    With consideration both for local climate action needs AND workforce development need for existing and future climate careers.
•    Prioritize operational attributes, structure, and key messaging.
•    Priorities will inform plans to seek funding and develop programs. 
•    Will support report to GOPIF on Maine Climate Corps, due Sep 1. 
•    Secondary goal: Develop interest and momentum amongst participants for developing, sponsoring, and supporting a Maine Climate Corps program. 

Some key policy priorities for the Task Force include: 
o    Keeping the Maine Climate Corps position permanently. 
o    Would need to be a part of the general budget to fund this budget. 
o    Consider all funding opportunities, including private philanthropy
    There has been quite a bit of interest from some private funding sources
    They want to do something, but they don’t necessarily know what to do
    Attracting and retaining young people to Maine is a real value add of Climate Corps
o    Making this programming accessible to people without the resources to implement them

Priority projects could include:
-    New materials management working group in Climate Council. 
Key question for the summit:
-    Messaging about the corps, how does/can it benefit all Mainers? 
-    What are the workforce needs that exist and how can the climate corps align with that?
-    What key ingredients made success happen with the Corps projects to date?

Opportunity to engage the public and the press as part of this summit: Maybe need a big media push to emphasize the role of the Climate Corps and how it fits into the community
o    The climate crisis impacts all of our lives and communities 
o    Could invite the press to cover this meeting. 
o    Put out a press release
Invite American Climate Corps staff/leaders to zoom in to provide national context for our work
o    There has been quite a bit of interest from some private funding sources
    They want to do something, but they don’t necessarily know what to do
o    Use attracting young people, keeping people in Maine, and workforce development as a selling point for their participation

Invitation List:
-    Include people who were interviewed for the climate corps report and anyone who has provided testimonies
-    Partnerships with community colleges
-    Past and current grantees, Climate Corps Network programs
-    Climate Funders Network

Highlights from Climate Council meeting on June 18: 
•    Strengthening existing recommendations, adding depth and new materials management task force
•    Materials management and reuse economy is a good nexus for the corps
o    Tool repair shops and how to set one up
o    Connect community members with each other to build resilience
-    Rebuilding
o    Shoreline stabilization and floodplains
    Shore corps concept
-    New strategy/expansion of strategy of community resilience
o    Neighborhood by neighborhood
    Talk to homeowners to see what they want to do
    Need capacity building to accomplish this
•    Corps great for this
-    Energy audits continue to be very important to know what sequence investments can be made in
o    Energy navigator program
-    Mental health
-    Waste, especially food waste
-    In a very good place with all the federal resources in Maine now, but there is still a steep learning curve in what people need and what they will do
-    Build capacity, workforce development, relationship building
-    Solutions won’t change, so getting capacity is really what’s needed to get solutions to people
o    Make tech accessible to those who can utilize them to implement 
-    All workgroups: Education, Awareness, Proactive Messaging. 
-    Continues to be gaps in communication and information
o    Corps members fill these holes as boots on the ground
-    Opportunity to reach schools is something we need more of
o    All Corps member doing things like speaking at schools fits in perfectly into their roles

Role of Task Force Members: 
    Serve as facilitators/notetakers in small groups. 

Questions about Updates Below:

American Climate Corps
Update: The American Climate Corps team has proposed Climate Corps competencies and is actively developing training programs (sounds like asynchronous online courses) that ACC members will have optional access to.
Recently ACC hired a deputy director, step in the right direction in terms of staffing
Climate Corps Network Update
We received 1 new application to join the Maine Climate Corps Network. The USM Muskie School Maine Resiliency Internships Program will become a member. This internship places graduate students in host organizations to tackle a climate resilience related project. The interns receive course credit and usually are paid by the host sites for the part-time, semester long experience. 
Next gathering: July 19 Summit, In-person. Feedback on Meeting materials via email