Outdoor Career Academy

The Outdoor Career Academy (OCA) is a credentialing and skill-building program that engages youth to build life-long connections to the outdoors and a pathway to employment in the outdoor and environment industry. The training includes small group workshops, hands-on experiences, and exposure to jobs in the outdoor industry, as well as ongoing career coaching and mentoring to support youth throughout the year. The OCA promotes positive youth development and prepares youth with the strength of character and determination to be successful in all aspects of their life.

Areas of Focus:

Engagement: Placed-based, experiential education and volunteer opportunities that cultivate a passion for the outdoors and a desire to work in the field. Family involvement is encouraged and supported.

Training: Intensive 4-day credentialing training that includes:

  • First Aid and CPR Certifications
  • Leave No Trace Ethics
  • Situational and Servant Leadership
  • Professional Ethics
  • Natural and Cultural History Interpretation
  • Outdoor Leadership, Survival, and Paddling Skills
  • Job skills such as Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision-Making

Career Coaching and Mentorship: Ongoing individual support and skill-building.

  • Goal setting
  • Resume writing
  • Job interviewing

Networking: Connections to professionals in the field.

Internships and job placement: Gain experience working in the outdoors.

Program Goals:

  • Diversify the outdoor industry through equitable opportunities in experiential education, training and mentoring for youth and young adults.
  • Inform youth and families on the usage and access of public spaces through community events and recreational activities.
  • Connect with potential employers through career fairs and volunteer experiences.
  • Increase opportunity for youth to continue strengthening leadership skills and confidence through participation in WI trips and the Outdoor Youth Advisory Board.

Outdoor Career Academy’s first graduating class from the summer of 2016.

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