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MI Healthy Climate Corps launches with 30 members statewide

An innovative program’s first cohort begins its eight-month mission to drive climate action across the state and support a new generation of climate professionals with workforce development and leadership skills.

The MI Healthy Climate Corps (MHC Corps) is on the move. The corps is a new program to develop an enduring, capable network of climate professionals committed to their communities and a sustainable future for Michigan. This week, the corps’ first cohort of 30 members is fanning out across the state on assignments to drive climate action in communities.

The aim is to advance the ambitious climate goals in the MI Healthy Climate Plan (MHCP), build climate action capacity across the state through leadership and workforce training, and help guide federal and state resources to communities in greatest need.

These first corps members, who serve through the federal AmeriCorps agency for national service and volunteerism, will work for eight months with host partners in state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations from all over Lower Michigan to the Upper Peninsula. (See the full list of hosts and their locations below.)

The Office of Climate and Energy (OCE) in Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) launched the MHC Corps in partnership with the Michigan Community Service Commission, which administers AmeriCorps funding for Michigan and fosters climate-focused programming through EGLE’s program and others in its AmeriCorps portfolio. The nonprofit Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) manages the MHC Corps.

Corps members will focus on access to federal and state resources to support clean energy, environmental justice, environmental restoration, sustainability, transit, and more, sharing information with their communities through meetings, educational programs, and other activities.

In addition to earning a stipend, members benefit from career-focused networking, training, and professional experience.

Michigan leads the Midwest in clean energy job growth, with nearly 124,000 clean energy workers. The clean energy job sector grew by nearly 5% from 2021-22, almost twice the growth rate of the overall economy. This program will help continue the state’s leadership in clean energy jobs.

While most corps members are recent college graduates, the cohort includes people making mid-career transitions to climate-related work. All but two members are from Michigan.

Leaders speak on the MI Healthy Climate Corps

  • EGLE Director Phil Roos: “The launch of this unique, transformative, and equity-centered program reflects the teamwork and shared mission to fight climate change of so many partners in state and local governments and nonprofits across the state. The MI Healthy Climate Corps is a prime example of Michigan’s national climate leadership expressed in real-world action. As someone who personally pivoted mid-career to make a larger impact on climate change and environmental protection, I am proud of our first cohort’s choices to lean in and focus their careers on climate action.”
  • CEDAM Executive Director Luke Forrest: “So many big plans sit on the proverbial shelf after they’re released, but not the MI Healthy Climate Plan. Through this partnership, we’re excited to support community-based organizations as they take local climate action while also investing in the next generation of leaders.”
  • Michigan Chief Climate Officer Cory Connolly in the OCE: “I believe in the adage, ‘to change everything, it takes everyone.’ The MI Healthy Climate Corps is building a statewide community of climate champions who will drive action not only among corps members and host partners but throughout the communities where they work, live, and play.”

More about the MI Healthy Climate Corps

The MHC Corps workforce program focuses on advancing and reaching MI Healthy Climate Plan goals, building capacity in communities across the state, and helping guide federal and state resources.

Planning for the MHC Corps kicked off in August 2023 with support from the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which included $2.6 million in federal and state funding over two years to support the MHC Corps, with the potential to add resources as the program grows.

Michigan’s MHC Corps predates a similar federal American Climate Corps program, also through AmeriCorps and other partners, that will begin taking applications in April. Like the Michigan corps, it promises not only progress toward climate goals but the development of a skilled workforce to support the transition to a cleaner economy.

The MHC Corps’ second cohort will begin an 11-month service term in fall 2024. In future years, the corps expects to offer additional community support and service opportunities throughout the state. Prospective host partners, corps members, and anyone interested in supporting the program can find more information and sign up to receive updates on the the corps' webpage.  

MHC Corps host partners and locations

One MHC Corps member will serve with each of the following host partners through mid-November:

  • Ann Arbor: Washtenaw County Facilities Management Department.
  • Bellaire: Antrim Conservation District.
  • Detroit: Detroit city government, Detroit 2030 District, Detroit Future City, Let's Grow Michigan, Michigan Saves, Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan, and Transportation Riders United.
  • East Lansing: East Lansing city government.
  • Elk Rapids: Elk Rapids village government.
  • Flint: The Everly Collective.
  • Grand Rapids: West Michigan Environmental Action Council and Calvin University Plaster Creek Stewards.
  • Ingham County: Spartan Housing Cooperative.
  • Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo city government.
  • Lansing: Lansing city government, Clean Fuels Michigan, Lansing Board of Water & Light, League of Michigan Bicyclists, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Office of Public Lands.
  • Marquette: Marquette County government and Superior Watershed Partnership.
  • River Rouge: City of River Rouge Community Development Department.
  • Traverse City: SEEDS Ecology and Education Centers and East Bay Charter Township government.
  • Waterford Township: Oakland County government.
  • Two additional positions serve EGLE and OCE.

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