Wisconsin lawmakers propose conservation corps program

Young people would be able to earn money for college by working on conservation projects under a bipartisan bill making its way through the Legislature.

Rep. Jeff Mursau’s proposal would re-establish the Wisconsin Conservation Corps. The program ceased operations in 2003.

Under the bill, the Department of Administration would supply grants to organizations to complete conservation projects.

Workers would have to be between 16 and 25 and at least half of each crew would have to be high school students and come from families that make no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Workers would be eligible for college tuition payments through the federal AmeriCorps program.

The Senate’s Natural Resources and Energy Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the bill Thursday.