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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

Parks California is no longer accepting applications for 2024 Career Pathways Grant Cycle. The next application will launch 2025. To receive updates on the 2025 Career Pathways launch and other Parks California grants, sign up for our newsletter. If you have any other questions or inquiries, please contact the Career Pathways Grants Manager at

Meet our current and past Career Pathways Grantees:

2024-2026 Recipients (coming soon)