Project Opportunity: A Youth Education and Trail Building Program

In 1993, the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), National Trails Fund Act (NRTFA), Georgia Cooperative Extension Service (Georgia 4-H), Georgia Department of Natural Resource (DNR), Georgia Wildlife Resources Division (WRD), and United States Forest Service (USFS) combined forces to provide jobs for youth and maintain Georgia's recreational trail structure. Project Opportunity (PO) was designed to provide 14- and 21-year-old youth with much needed jobs. PO also provided youth with on-the-job training, job-seeking skills, knowledge about the environment, and remedial programs in mathematics and reading. PO had a positive impact on participants in terms of knowledge, attitude, and skill development, and 105 km of trails were maintained and augmented. Although PO was designed as a pilot program for youth in the North Georgia area, it can easily be modified to address the specific needs of groups in other areas of the United States.

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