Interested in the CivicSpark Fellowship?

Learn more about the program by attending one of our Fellow Recruitment webinars, where we will discuss the interview and hiring process and answer any questions you may have. The 2017-18 service year application will open April 24, 2017. Stay up to date by liking us on Facebook and subscribing to our monthly CivicSpark newsletter!

Introduction to CivicSpark: Fellow Recruitment 2017-18 Webinars

April 12, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM

April 21, 2017 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Are you passionate about making a difference in your community and eager to gain experience addressing climate change and water management needs?

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change, water, and land-use needs. During the 11-month service year, CivicSpark fellows will support the State’s response to climate change and integrated water management by working with local governments to complete research, planning, or implementation projects. At the same time, fellows will receive substantial professional development training and access to a network of local, regional, and state sustainability leaders.

What does it mean to be a CivicSpark fellow?

The program offers two fellowship tracks: the CivicSpark: Climate Action Fellowship (50 fellows) and the CivicSpark: Water Action Fellowship (20 fellows). All fellows will spend 1700 hours over 11 months working full time with their host agency. The eight CivicSpark regions include Southern California/Los Angeles, San Diego, Central Coast, San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento, Sierra Nevada, San Francisco Bay Area, and North Coast. Fellows will work on multiple projects during the service year, which gives them the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in climate change response and integrated water management, while learning technical skills and building a strong network of sustainability professionals.

Climate Action fellows, organized in regional teams with a Regional Coordinator, work on mitigation and adaptation projects on a range of topics including sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, implementation of climate action plans, and GHG inventories and benchmarks.

Water Action fellows will be placed in ten pairs of two in regions across the state. Fellows will serve with local leaders responding to statewide priorities in water resources, such as implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the California Water Action Plan.

All CivicSpark fellows will provide support to local governments through the following four-step process:

  • Gap Assessments: Fellow interviews staff and reviews key documents to determine current climate change or water resource management needs and “gaps”, andto finalize the project scope.

  • Service Projects: Based on the information gained from the gap assessment, the fellow implements a specific research, planning, or implementation project.

  • Volunteer Engagement: In parallel with a service project, fellows will have the opportunity to support increased volunteer engagement by establishing new volunteer programs or enhancing a pre-existing program relevant to climate change or integrated water management.

  • Transitioning Expertise: Each service year concludes with the fellow providing training to staff and/or by sharing results with key stakeholders to sustain progress.

CC DayOn a day-to-day level, CivicSpark fellows will work on tasks ranging from data collection and analysis to community outreach. All fellows will leave the service year with an understanding of work within local governments, experience working with key climate change and water resource management, ability to analyze data, and ability to work successfully in a team office environment.Topically, CivicSpark fellows are likely to work on a range of areas related to climate change and water management such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, or public health. However, because the program will be supporting a number of different local governments during the service year, fellows are unlikely to work exclusively on any one topic.

To view the projects currently happening in each region, visit our 2016-17 Project Catalogand Descriptive Project Examples.

2016-17 Service Year Calendar

Week of 10/9/2016
Week of 03/21/2014
September 2017

Local projects get underway!


CivicSpark fellows receive the following benefits for the term of their service year:IMG_6818

  • $16,000+ Living Allowance (before taxes) spread evenly over 11 months
  • $5,815 Segal Education Award
  • SNAP (Food Stamps) – for those eligible
  • Forbearance on existing qualifying student loans and payment of interest accrued during service
  • Health insurance
  • Childcare assistance to qualifying fellows, paid to an eligible provider of your choice
  • Significant professional development training
  • Network development with regional and statewide contacts in the climate protection field
  • Valuable experience in the sustainability field and the local government sector
  • Connection to a network of hundreds of thousands of AmeriCorps Alums


CivicSpark fellows will have completed at least a 4-year degree and will have relevant experience in the sustainability field. An ideal candidate might have the following characteristics:


  • A 4-year degree from an accredited college or university
  • Ability to pass FBI, CA DOJ, out-of-state (if applicable), and NSOPR background checks prior to service
  • Commitment to the full term of service (11 months)
  • Be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States
  • Capability to work in a professional office setting
  • Strong communication (both verbal and written) and teamwork skills
  • Water Action Fellows: Background knowledge of water-related sciences (coursework or project/professional experience), water policy, or water management

Strongly preferred

  • A degree in an environmentally related field (e.g., climate, water, etc.)
  • One year of relevant experience
  • Past service commitments (e.g., volunteering, community service, etc.)
  • Experience with, or training in, outreach, facilitation and/or grassroots organizing skills


  • Experience with local government operations and structures, especially as they relate to climate protection
  • Comfort with quantitative work, including data collection and analysis
  • Climate Action Fellows: Experience with California climate change mitigation- and/or adaptation-related policies and practices
  • Water Action Fellows: Experience with California water-related policies and practices and/or water use efficiency-related policies and practices

This is an equal opportunity position and we prefer to place a candidate who already lives in the community being served.

What is AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps is a civil society program created to address the needs of local communities. AmeriCorps engages 75,000 Members annually who complete intensive service to meet community needs in education, health, public safety, security, and the environment. Since 1994, AmeriCorps Members have served over 1.4 billion hours for their communities. CivicSpark fellows work full time, completing a total of 1700 hours over 11 months, working to support local communities while gaining valuable experience and training. AmeriCorps is administered by CaliforniaVolunteers and sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service.