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Nonprofit Helps Young Woman Find Career Path and Passion for Giving Back

Marisol Bautista is a young woman with big plans. A couple of years ago, she was working fewer hours than needed to stay afloat financially, had unsteady housing, and was trying to shift toward a job that would put her on a career track.

When she heard of the Orange County Conservation Corps (OCCC) from her sister, who was also a Corpsmember, Marisol was eager for a new job experience. The OCCC is a nonprofit that serves young, at-risk adults through employment, training and educational programs that build self-sufficiency and benefit the community through conservation-driven projects.

Marisol Bautista enjoys a conversation with Susan Soria, Senior Manager, Corpsmember Leadership & Development. In her role, Susan gets to know all Corpsmembers and helps guide them in their career journeys.

“I really needed stability at the time, and the Corps helped me gain that stability,” Marisol says.

Enterprise Bank & Trust LA Market President John Murillo serves on OCCC’s Board of Directors and sees supporting local nonprofits like OCCC crucial to strengthening the community.

“By investing in programs that support our young adults, not only are we setting them up for successful and healthy lives, we’re investing in a resilient and prosperous community for generations to come,” he says.

Marisol’s job placement through OCCC was an office Corpsmember position. Working at the reception desk allowed her to meet nearly every Corpsmember as they would come to the office to meet with their case manager.

“Through working with my case manager, and also being here and seeing what they do, it opened up my eyes to a whole new world of employment. Thats when I decided to pursue case management and human services-type work,” she says.

Marisol remembers that right from the start, the OCCC team was welcoming and interested in learning about her — something she had never felt from an employer before.

“I had never even worked a printer before I got my job here. I was used to customer service roles and had to learn a lot of technical and professional skills, but the environment made me feel more motivated to pursue my professional development,” she says.

Orange County Conservation Corps, 2023 Community Impact Report

During her year and a half with OCCC, Marisol earned her associate’s degree and is looking forward to pursuing her bachelor’s degree at a California state university, starting classes this fall. She hopes to one day be a case manager at OCCC or another nonprofit, to help others the way OCCC helped her.

Marisol says, “It was a blessing working here. I don’t think I would have gotten to the position I am now if it weren’t for the Corps. It’s so hard to find a job when you have no direct experience, and for someone to take a chance on you is unlikely. Working here helped my professional skills skyrocket so that I could find something better for myself. I am very grateful for that.”