top of page

Our History

Founded by San Jose City Council members Susan Hammer and Shirley Lewis in 1987, the San Jose Conservation Corps was one of the first urban conservation corps in the country. With strong support from the City of San Jose, SJCC+CS began operations with over 20 Corpsmembers in January 1988. Since then, SJCC+CS has grown, opening its charter school in 2002 and expanding to two campuses in 2010.


In 2001, SJCC+CS established a YouthBuild program in partnership with the Department of Labor and AmeriCorps, helping to build affordable housing in San Jose while training students in the construction trades. While SJCC+CS no longer has a YouthBuild program, it continues to receive AmeriCorps funding, enabling current students to earn scholarships for post-secondary education or vocational training.

Over the past thirty years, SJCC+CS has grown and modified its programs to meet the needs of the over 10,000 young adults who have benefited from our services.


Since 2002, 3,134 youth have earned their high school diploma at SJCC+CS, creating combined increased lifetime earnings of $1.25 billion.

Shirley Lewis.jpg

On Right: Founding member Shirley Lewis

Susan Hammer.jpg

On Left: Founding member Susan Hammer

bottom of page