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California’s State Parks will be best prepared to address climate change with a talented and diverse workforce, equipped to lead the care of our landscapes. Historically, park career paths have not been inclusive to all. Bringing diverse perspectives, lived experiences, and Indigenous knowledge into stewardship builds resilience and broader support for our parks.

Parks California launched its Career Pathways Grant Program in 2021 to expand career pathways to California State Parks jobs for underrepresented communities. This program supports workforce development partnerships between State Parks and local organizations that meaningfully address key access barriers and prepare participants for park careers. The program aims to not only prepare the next generation workforce with necessary skills but also expand awareness about the diversity of careers in parks and public lands, connect participants to mentors and professional networks to support them in their career journey, and help participants navigate state hiring processes.

This program is made possible through a public private partnership, supported by private fundraising by Parks California, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s Waterway Connections Initiative. The Career Pathways Grants Program is aligned with the goals of California Natural Resources Agency’s Outdoors for All program. Through this partnership, Parks California is expanding the Career Pathways Grants Program with increased opportunities for workforce development initiatives in public lands and parks.

The goals for this grant program are to:

  • Broaden and expand career pathways to jobs in California State Parks and public lands
  • Address key access barriers faced by underrepresented communities
  • Add on-the-ground capacity to California State Park high priority projects
  • Build and strengthen partnerships between communities, organizations, and California State Parks
For the 2024 Career Pathways grant cycle, applications will be accepted December 1, 2023 through February 29, 2024 and will support activities that commence June 2024. This year, Parks California will consider two types of proposals for grant awards:
  • Planning and Development Grants (9-month projects; June 2024- February 2025) up to $30,000
    • Successful planning and development projects may be eligible for up to $150,000 to implement projects June 2025-May 2027
  • Implementation Grants (2-year projects; June 2024-May 2026) – up to $150,000

To apply and learn more about this grant cycle’s timeline, eligibility, and other important information visit the 2024 Career Pathways page. A number of resources and tools to support the applications process are also provided on that page.

Meet our current and past Career Pathways Grantees: