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From The Intermountains to Main Streets
February 8, 2022 | |

 Groundwork USA Welcomes New Youth Programs Manager

With a growing number of national youth corps opportunities on the horizon, Groundwork USA is excited to welcome James Foster as our new Senior Manager of Youth Programs to help support the expansion of our national youth programming

James has a long track record in corps and service programs, coming to Groundwork USA from the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service where he served as a regional liaison to the 26 conservation corps that partner with the NPS in the region. In this role, he increased collaboration, knowledge sharing, and connection between the partners and improved the service experience within the regional national park network. James began his service career in Sierra Leone as a secondary school math teacher with the Peace Corps. After returning home, he became the AmeriCorps Director for the Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast in northwest Florida, where he assisted with the rapid expansion of an organization that connects youth to opportunities in land and resource conservation careers through the delivery of hands-on experiential learning classes and workforce development support.

To James, Groundwork USA’s commitment to building the capacity of youth to address climate and environmental justice challenges is personal. He grew up in Mobile, Alabama – one of our newest Groundwork communities – where he was exposed firsthand to the impacts of the climate crisis in frontline neighborhoods.

“I think we are at a critical crossroads as a planet. I am originally from the Gulf Coast and personally went through the near-complete destruction of my community during Hurricane Katrina. I have seen the impact of climate change first-hand, and the situation is rapidly spiraling out of control. We need to build the next generation of leaders that have the knowledge, tools, and experience to address these challenges and fight back. Low-income and marginalized communities are being hit first and hardest by the changing climate, and building youth leaders that are driven to make their communities more resilient is crucial,” shares James.

As manager of our national youth programs, James connects program coordination with the hands-on work that he loves. In this role, he’ll be coordinating and leading a full calendar of national youth corps programs with federal partners, including the National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife, and NASA, from historic sites in the south to iconic parks in the Rockies. He’ll also work to increase the capacity of Groundwork Trusts to deliver high-quality youth programming and workforce development programs across the country.

“I have had many opportunities to learn about and work with Groundwork USA through my position with the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service. I chose Groundwork USA because I am truly inspired by the organization’s mission and accomplishments n. Few organizations show such dedication to working with youth from underserved and under-resourced communities –much less have had such success in doing so,” shared James. “There are so many projects already in the works for this summer. I’m excited to get out and meet the staff of the Trusts and the youth they engage with, both in their communities and in the field.”

Please join us in welcoming James to the growing Groundwork community!