Update from The Corps Network’s Government Relations Team – April 19, 2022
By Meghan Castellano & Danielle Owen
Read this blog from The Corps Network’s Government Relations Team on what recent updates from Washington mean for the Service and Conservation Corps community.
Climate Action Summit
On March 15 and 16, 2022, The Corps Network convened Corps movement leaders from several sectors for a Climate Action Summit in Washington, DC. The event focused on exploring opportunities to meet the goals of a Civilian Climate Corps by expanding and evolving the community of national service programs that do conservation work.
Among other topics, the sessions at the Summit looked at:
- a variety of options for funding climate service projects;
- opportunities to engage new partners;
- priority projects to address;
- barriers to expanding Conservation Corps;
- and the necessity of centering equity and environmental justice in efforts to meet the goals of a Civilian Climate Corps.
Participants at the Climate Action Summit included Directors from Conservation Corps programs across the country, as well as leaders and representatives from the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, AmeriCorps and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Labor, and Transportation. Presenters also included leaders from the National Park Foundation, the National Forest Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the JPB and William Penn Foundations. The Climate Action Summit also provided an opportunity to celebrate successes in the Conservation Corps field. Among others, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Ed Markey (D-MA), as well as members of their staff, attended and were recognized for their leadership on legislative efforts to fund national service and a Civilian Climate Corps. An Action Summit summary report will be published by The Corps Network in the coming weeks. Learn more about the event
Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations
On Monday, March 28, President Biden released his Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal. His request included around $100 million for the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC). TCN’s Government Relations Team understands that this funding inclusion was a White House directive. As a reminder, the President’s Budget does not hold weight in law but is more of a guide to the Legislative Branch on how the Executive Branch would like federal funding to be directed. The CCC funding included in the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request includes:
- AmeriCorps: There is a $20 million funding request for AmeriCorps’ Salaries and Expenses account. This is for AmeriCorps capacity building for the CCC.
- Department of Agriculture: There is a $6 million funding request for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as well as a request for not less than $3 million in the Recreation, Heritage, and Wilderness account at the U.S. Forest Service.
- Department of Interior: There is around $60 million in funding requests over the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- Department of Labor: There is a $15 million request for the Department of Labor for a grant program related to the CCC.
Great Outdoors Day of Service
Mark your calendars! On Thursday, June 9, 2022, The Corps Network will host its Great Outdoors Day of Service in Washington, DC. The purpose of this special event is to celebrate service and volunteerism outdoors and raise awareness about the role we can all play in helping maintain the public lands and waters we enjoy. This annual event connects young adults serving in Corps across the country, as well as Corps partners and supporters. After pausing the event for two years for COVID safety reasons, we look forward to bringing Corpsmembers and Corps supporters together in person to complete a service project and give back to our local community. We will share further details as they become available, but in the meantime, please hold some time on your calendars to join us in DC on June 9.
Opportunities for Member Organizations of The Corps Network
In the last few weeks, The Corps Network reached out to its membership to share opportunities to be more involved in advocacy at The Corps Network. We have two main Coalitions at The Corps Network that focus on advocacy and on information sharing. These are the Public Lands Service Coalition (PLSC) and the State and Local Projects Coalition (SLPC).
The PLSC meets weekly and focuses more of its attention to non-federal public lands, such as state and local public lands, waters, and outdoor recreation sites. If you have an interest in expanding your Corps’ work on public lands but are not located near a national park, forest, or refuge, this is your opportunity to explore relationships with and strategies for state and local resource management agencies.
The PLSC has been working on creating concurrent meetings of two working groups – one focused on Agency/Administration outreach and the other focused onCorps Industry Issues, like recruiting and equitable access – on Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. ET. A meeting of the larger group will continue to meet on Fridays at 1:00 p.m. ET to share information and discuss next steps. The PLSC does NOT require additional dues. If you would like to attend, please reach out to Danielle Owen, Director of Government Relations, for the meeting invite.
The SLPC meets monthly and considers important topics like funding for projects in urban communities, as well as Corpsmember education, workforce development, and support services. This group focuses more on project work in urban areas or on state or local public lands; opportunities to partner with AmeriCorps and/or the Departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Transportation; and strategies for successfully engaging and supporting diverse Corpsmembers (who may have multiple barriers to employment). This group meets the last Thursday of every month at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The SLPC does NOT require additional dues. If you would like to attend, please reach out Meghan, Government Relations Coordinator, for the meeting invite.
The Corps Network encourages its members to take full advantage of these coalitions. The participants in these meetings bring a wealth of knowledge and share many great ideas. By working together, we have a better chance of growing and improving not only individual programs, but the entire Corps movement.