In the summer of 2009, funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) enabled the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps program to build and upgrade facilities and incorporate green components into its training curriculum. MP&F helped Job Corps develop the Earth Day Every Day (EDED) campaign to create an environmental consciousness among students and staff members and enable its 124 centers across the country to share those messages with their communities.
MP&F researched ways Earth Day could be incorporated into the strategy for the campaign, including the history of Earth Day, traditional Earth Day activities, and water and energy consumption habits at Job Corps centers and in the U.S. MP&F also reached out to centers to gather information on ways centers typically celebrated Earth Day.
The target audiences for the campaign were Job Corps students (60,000 students, ages 16 to 24) and employees. Based on the research and interviews with Job Corps staff and students, MP&F developed a campaign that:
• provided centers easy ways to create fun, interactive green activities in class and around campus;
• educated students and staff members about environmentally friendly practices they could incorporate into their day-to-day lives; and,
• provided strategies and suggested messaging for centers to share information about their activities with community organizations, potential community partners and local media.
Core campaign messaging and strategies were built around the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
MP&F worked with the National Office of Job Corps to develop, communicate and monitor the following events and activities surrounding the EDED initiative.
EDED Week: In February 2010, centers received a 21-page, electronic guide booklet with ideas for EDED Week (April 19-23, 2010). Suggested activities included sponsoring “Go Green” community fairs, creating green mascots, performing community service projects and energy audits, and starting student-staff green committees. More than 100 centers carried out tree-planting ceremonies, concurrently, on Earth Day.
EDED Webinar: MP&F worked with the National Office of Job Corps to produce instructional webinars to assist centers with programming activities for EDED Week. More than 100 centers participated in one of four webinar sessions which allowed centers to ask planning questions and share ideas.
Green Center Recognition Awards, Secretary of Labor Awards Program and Washington, D.C., Tour: The Green Center Recognition Awards asked centers to create student-focused environmental stewardship and sustainability principle projects. Of the more than 50 centers that entered, Job Corps selected six regional winners and one national winner. The national winner received additional funding for the center’s green project, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C., for eight students and four staff members to participate in an awards ceremony at the U.S. Department of Labor on Earth Day 2010. MP&F planned and executed the awards ceremony, designed award plaques and certificates, and developed briefing packets and talking points for the Secretary of Labor, the Assistant Secretary of the Education and Training Administration, and the National Director of Job Corps.
Additional Materials: Other materials developed to support EDED included a set of six posters highlighting strategies to conserve water and energy, a media relations guide and templates, and Green Center Award plaques made of bamboo. In keeping with the theme of environmental stewardship, the banners and posters were made of recycled products, and other supporting materials were electronic and distributed via email.
MP&F developed a Zoomerang survey to provide each center an opportunity to share feedback on the EDED initiative. A total of 107 Job Corps centers participated in the survey.
• 105 said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of instruction from the National Office of Job Corps.
• 102 centers ranked EDED activities as effective or extremely effective in teaching students and staff lessons on conservation, environmental stewardship and sustainability.
• 100 centers rated each of the EDED materials as effective or extremely effective.
• 90 centers felt EDED activities helped shape programs their center will implement moving forward.
• 72 centers reported using the EDED news templates to send information to their local media outlets.
Centers reported news article placements in 45 newspapers, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the San Marcos Daily Record, as well as placements on eight radio stations and 10 television stations.