These are Frequently Asked Questions about our Veterans Green Corps (VGC) Program. Once you have submitted an application to enroll with MCC, these questions will become much more pertinent to you. Please visit with MCC staff during your interview time regarding additional questions.
- 1. What kind of work will I be doing?
Crews will be mostly completing fuels reduction projects. The objective is to remove enough fuel so that when a wildfire burns, it is less severe and can be more easily suppressed. Projects vary from cutting or thinning hazard trees in areas, limbing underbrush, slash piling, using a chipper, etc. We are currently not completing prescribed burns. Other potential project work may include trail maintenance, fencing, rehabilitation work and historic preservation. Typical projects are 9 days in length, working 9 hours a day. Crews are camped out at project locations the entire hitch. The schedule is typically 9 days on, 5 days off. However there are some projects that require a different schedule and flexibility is necessary. Also please note that on one of your days off, you will be prepping for your next camped out hitch.
- 2. What type of training do I receive? Will I be able to fight fires?
MCC orientation & Fundamental Skills training (1-2 days)
Orientation will cover program objectives, policies and procedures and MCC history. In addition, crew members will participate in trainings that cover fundamental skills and expectations as a crew member.
S130/S-190: Firefighter Training and Intro to Wildland Fire Behavior (4-5 days)
S-130 is designed to provide entry level firefighter skills. Many of the units are set up so they can be taught in either the classroom or the field. S-190 provides instruction in the primary factors affecting the start and spread of wildfire and recognition of potentially hazardous situations. S-190 is typically taught in conjunction with or prior to Basic Firefighter Training, S-130. It is designed to meet the fire behavior training needs of a firefighter type 2 (FFT2) on an incident as outlined in the PMS 310-1, Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide and the position task book developed for the position.
S212: Wildland Fire Chain Saws (4-5 days)
Classroom and field instruction as a sawyer and feller. Crew Members will be graded on the Federal scale as to their qualifications as a sawyer.
It is important to note that Crews will NOT be red carded, but will receive all of the necessary training to move forward upon hire with an agency to obtain red card.
- 3. What does camp life look like?
Crews are self sufficient and are responsible for their own meal planning/preparation, clean up, camp set up, tool maintenance, gear maintenance and vehicle maintenance. Crews camp out during their hitches, which can range from 5-10 days in length. MCC provides food while at trainings and on projects and crews plan and prepare their meals together. Everyone is expected to assist in daily crew chores even after a project day has ended. In addition, crew members and leaders are expected to participate in educational components above and beyond the 40+ hour work week.
- 4. If I am in the guard or reserves and have drill, can I still participate?
Yes. We have had many folks participate who needed to complete drill weekends. It would be best to try to complete your drills prior to, or after, your MCC term of service. We suggest this as the term of service is based on a set number of hours you are required to complete. The term of service is 12 weeks long and all crew members need to meet that requirement.
- 5. What is the education award?
Upon successful completion of your AmeriCorps term of service, you will receive an education award. Though we know most military folks receive the GI Bill, there are still benefits to receiving an AmeriCorps education award. You have (7) years to access your award. Some differences from the GI Bill are that you can use this award any time and do not need to be enrolled in a program or use it consecutively. It can also be used for on-line classes. There are several institutions and organizations that match an AmeriCorps education award, so be proactive in seeking out those resources. Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot pass along your award to your spouse or children.
- 6. Can I utilize my GI Bill for this program?
- 7. Does MCC provide job placement?
No, we do not provide job placement, however several of our folks have gone on to gain positions with various land management agencies. We provide opportunities for networking and we offer training on how to apply for federal jobs.
- 8. What about housing and days off?
While on projects, your home is a tent for most of the time, which you are responsible for providing. MCC can rent tents to individuals depending upon availability. MCC will cover lodging until you receive your first full stipend check. For all trainings and projects, food and lodging (most often camping) is provided. On days off during the remainder of your term, you will be required to provide your own food and lodging. Some folks will camp out, others will obtain a hotel or lodging at Ft. Harrison.