Heart of Oregon Corps Receives Accreditation for Excellence in Operations from National Accrediting Body


(Heart of Oregon staff accepted the accreditation award at The Corps Network Conference in Washington D.C. (L-R) Mary Ellen Sprenkel (The Corps Network staff), Laura Handy, Patrick Orr, Robin Alonzo and Kara Johnson | Photo courtesy of Heart of Oregon) 

Following an in-depth evaluation of internal operations, financial management practices, risk management practices, governance standards and youth programming operations, Heart of Oregon Corps received accreditation from the Corps Center of Excellence, the national accrediting body for Service and Conservation Corps.

As defined by The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, Corps are comprehensive youth development programs that provide young people (generally ages 16–25) the opportunity to serve in crews on important community and environmental projects.

Corpsmembers develop job and leadership skills and earn wages, a stipend, and/or an education award for their service. Accreditation is granted to Corps that demonstrate a high level of accountability to the communities in which they operate and the Corpsmembers they enroll.

“This accreditation is a like a ‘seal of approval’ that helps families, partners and funders trust that Heart of Oregon Corps will provide quality, safe programming to youth,” comments Laura Handy, the corps’ executive director. “For 23 years Heart of Oregon has been implementing best practices from corps from across the country right here in Central Oregon, and we’re proud to have earned this designation.”

As an accredited Corps, Heart of Oregon Corps has proven its ability to provide safe, appropriate, meaningful experiences to the young people they engage in service projects. They have also proven their ability to provide high-quality project outcomes to their partners — including the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Parks, Deschutes County Solid Waste, Bend Parks and Recreation, Sisters Habitat for Humanity and more — with whom they collaborate to develop service opportunities for Corpsmembers.

“Demonstrating that you meet industry standards is an important marketing tool for Corps that lets potential partners and stakeholders understand that your program produces high-quality outcomes,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of The Corps Network. “It shows that Corps programs are an excellent investment that benefits both the young people they serve and their communities.”

The Corps Center of Excellence is administered by an advisory committee made up of retired and former Conservation Corps leaders, retired and former federal land management agency staff and other experts. During the accreditation process, an accreditation team comprised of persons with expertise in Youth and Conservation Corps operations review a Corps’ service project and Corpsmember outcomes, internal documents and financials. This team also conducts a multiple-day site visit at each Corps undergoing the accreditation process. Results of these reviews are presented to the Advisory Committee for discussion and approval. Accreditation lasts for five years with each Corps required to provide an annual update.

For more information about Corps accreditation, please visit The Corps Network’s website.

About Heart of Oregon Corps:
Heart of Oregon Corps is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth and young adults through employment, job training, education and service to Central Oregon communities. Youth and young adults transform their own lives while improving their communities. All HOC programs apply a “work- earn-learn” model that invests in local young people, many of whom come from underserved backgrounds, to prepare them for the workforce and to develop their leadership. HOC is accredited by the Corps Center for Excellence. Heart of Oregon Corps trains tomorrow’s workforce today—and they are accepting youth applications now!

About The Corps Network:
The Corps Network provides critical leadership to the Corps movement and our nation’s Service and Conservation Corps as they harness the power of youth and young adults to tackle some of America’s greatest challenges and transform their own lives. Our 100+ members operate in all states and the District of Columbia. Each year they collectively enroll more than 23,000 Corpsmembers from ages 16-25. Corps are comprehensive youth development programs that provide their participants with job training, academic programming, leadership skills and additional support through a strategy of service that improves communities and the environment.



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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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