UCAN’s United Communities AmeriCorps (UCA) department operates in Douglas, Josephine, Coos, Curry and Jackson County. Together, these counties comprise Southwest Oregon.
Southwestern Oregon is an outdoor lover’s paradise. It features sections of rugged Pacific coastline, windswept dunes, the Rogue and North Umpqua Wild and Scenic Rivers, and stunning Cascade waterfalls. The region includes Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
Medford, Jackson County’s county seat, has 87,353 residents. Other major regional cities include Grants Pass (39,475) Coos Bay/North Bend (26,380) and Roseburg (23,701). Medford has an international airport, and Interstate-5 runs through the heart of the area. Southern Oregon University is located in Jackson County, and Umpqua, Rogue and Southwestern Oregon Community College campuses are found in the region’s other counties.
Southwest Oregon has been undergoing a challenging transition away from a timber-based economy. New opportunities have arisen, such as the development of local wineries, and others have expanded, such as those associated with healthcare. But many former timber workers lack the education and/or skills needed to obtain work in these fields.
So unemployment rates regularly exceed the State average. Median incomes are very low. Many residents suffer from poor health, and hunger is a problem throughout the region. Poverty rates are particularly high among the area’s young children.
UCA helps build the capacity of local organizations by strengthening volunteerism. At the same time, UCA supports efforts aimed at improving:
UCA also focuses on environmental stewardship.
As an AmeriCorps member, you can help a variety of non-profit, educational and government agencies working to address these problems. You’ll not only have the opportunity to directly serve local residents, you’ll work to build systems that enhance our local network of providers.
And you’ll do so while exploring your own interests, putting your values into action. You’ll be part of our team. We’ll provide you the support you need to flourish, with trainings and workshops on topics that will help you grow.
Southwestern Oregon has so much to offer. Check out our listing of positions and see how we can help you move forward in your career and your life!
With MacKenna, local teens are getting hands-on learning experience with aquaria care, experimental design, habitat exploration, the power of art in science communication, and strategies for moving on in the sciences in college. MacKenna is also mentoring community college students, as they explore career options in marine science. Her students are discovering what it takes to maintain aquaria, helping with animal check-ups and surgical procedures, and discovering unfamiliar animals in tidepools. Some have even been helping prepare a whale skeleton for future articulation and display (using horse poop!).
Throughout, MacKenna provides opportunities, gives encouragement, nudges students to make their own discoveries, and answers questions about what it’s really like in college and graduate school.
UCA is always looking for new host sites for our members. If you’ve never hosted a member, you’ll be amazed at the dedication a new member brings to your work. Your member can help you pilot new programming, support innovation, and build your organization’s capacity.
Hosting a member can serve as a stepping stone in developing your own workforce. By the end of their service, you’ll have developed a bond with your member. You’ll know that if you hire them into a new position, they’ll already have knowledge of your organization and your work.
Regardless, your organization will have helped train someone with a passion for service, someone who may well end up working somewhere else in your community. Your community will benefit from the skills you impart to your member.
Want to support the great work that AmeriCorps offers in our region?
UCA could not succeed without the support, insight and commitment of members of our advisory board. Board members advocate on behalf of UCA. Members advise us on programs, ideas, and challenges as they arise. Whether we are looking into new program innovations or seeking community support, you can help us maintain the vitality of our program.