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Federal Budget Cuts Bring Layoffs at Student Conservation Association

Charlestown — As many as 10 employees at the local office of the Student Conservation Association will lose their jobs by the end of the month, as a projected revenue loss will force the organization to trim its workforce.

The layoffs are the result of federal spending cuts, called sequestration, which could affect some organizations that work with the SCA, spokesman Kevin Hamilton said. For instance, he said, potential cuts to the Youth Corps and national parks have those groups unsure of where to commit their dollars.

“Sequestration certainly made matters that much more challenging,” Hamilton said.

The SCA works with high school and college-aged students on various conservation projects around the country, including restoring habitats in national parks and finding and eliminating invasive plant species.

A dozen workers will be cut nationwide, Hamilton said, which is 6 percent of SCA’s total workforce. Most of the cuts are in Charlestown because more than half the organization’s staff works there, he said.

Four of those workers were released following the Wednesday announcement, Hamilton said. The remaining eight will stay through the end of the month. All will receive severance packages of various sizes.

The Charlestown building, which is the organization’s headquarters and where most of its operations are located, is located on Route 12A along the Connecticut River.

Though the likely loss in revenue from federal partners will affect SCA’s programs, Hamilton said, it won’t cripple the organization.

“We will continue to fill the needs of our public lands partners, and fulfill the needs of young people,” he said.

Hamilton added that there is no shortage of young volunteers trying to get a competitive advantage in a difficult job market.

“That’s the overriding issue here — we provide young people with hands on experience,” he said. “It’s a very challenging job market, for young people in particular, right now.”

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.