The 21st Century Conservation Corps (21CSC) is a national initiative to grow the Corps movement by expanding and leveraging private-public partnerships. By giving more young adults and returning veterans the opportunity to work and serve on America’s public lands and waters, the 21CSC seeks to improve our infrastructure, boost local economies, and train a new generation of American workers.

The 21CSC is a bipartisan idea supported by several Secretaries of Interior, as well as private businesses and nonprofits. The backbone of the 21CSC is a collective of more than 220 Corps and other organizations across the country that annually engage tens of thousands of young people and veterans in quality, cost-effective maintenance and improvement projects on public and tribal lands and waters across the country. The programs of the 21CSC help address the backlogged maintenance needs of land and water management agencies; enhance outdoor recreation opportunities; improve the accessibility of public lands; and respond to wildfires and other natural disasters.

The Corps Network is a co-chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC: a body of key federal, state, local and non-profit leaders tasked with supporting the development and implementation of the 21CSC. Learn more at

The 21CSC…

  • Builds rural and urban economies
    By 1) Engaging Corpsmembers in projects that support the outdoor recreation and restoration economies; and, 2) Helping young adults and post-9/11 veterans develop in-demand job skills.
  • Provides opportunities for all Americans to serve their country
    Corps leverage the hard work of patriotic Americans for the purpose of strengthening the most beautiful country in the world.
  • Strengthens America’s infrastructure
    By completing projects that maintain and improve unique natural and cultural assets that are critically important to hunters, anglers, outdoor enthusiasts, and rural economies.
  • Modernizes the way government works
    Corps get things done through cost effective and innovative private-public partnerships.


The 21CSC Act

The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act, or 21CSC Act, was signed into law in March 2019 as part of the Natural Resources Management Act (S.47). The 21CSC Act assists the Service and Conservation Corps movement by:

  • Allowing federal land and water management agencies to create formal, more flexible partnerships with Corps;
  • Ensuring better tracking of data and accomplishments; and
  • Increasing enrollment in Corps among Native American youth and veterans

Under the 21CSC Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) joined the Departments of Interior and Agriculture as part of the Public Lands Corps (PLC) Authority, giving NOAA and the Secretary of Commerce increased flexibility in partnering with qualified Corps to complete maintenance and improvement projects.

Among other provisions, the 21CSC Act also establishes an “Indian Youth Service Corps.” This will allow federal resource management agencies to enter into cooperative agreements with tribes or qualified Corps for the administration of Corps programs that primarily engage Native American young people.

Other key provisions of the legislation include a requirement that the resource management agencies under the PLC Authority each designate a coordinator to facilitate partnerships with qualified Corps; as well as a requirement that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) report to Congress every two years with important data on Corps. This includes enrollment numbers and information about the types of service performed by Corpsmembers. Collecting this information will help demonstrate the impact and value of Corps.

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Danielle Owen
Director of Government Relations
[email protected] 

(Photo – American Conservation Experience)