Milwaukee Community Service Corps Makes a Splash with Rain Barrels


With the ever-present threat of draught and the increasing cost of water, residents throughout many Wisconsin communities are installing Corps-made rain barrels to conserve and cut the cost of maintaining their yards and gardens. Corpsmembers at the Milwaukee Community Service Corps build these barrels out of recycled soda syrup drums-keeping the plastic drums out of landfills and creating an innovative water conservation device. Through a partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), the rain barrels are distributed for sale throughout Milwaukee through MMSD, area natural foods stores, and nature conservancies. Recently, the utility manager for the city of Burlington, WI began ordering the rain barrels for her community-selling out even before her first supply of barrels arrived. MMSD has sold over 11,000 barrels since the program began four years ago, and in that time, Corpsmembers have learned the assembly and conservation skills that have made this program such a success. Learn more about the program and read about the impact the barrels have had in Burlington.


President Roosevelt Did it Then, President Obama Can Do it Now


“I propose to create a Civilian Conservation Corps. . . . More important, however, than the material gains will be the moral and spiritual value of such work.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt March 9, 1933

In his first 100 days, President Roosevelt approved several measures as part of his New Deal, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in particular represented the new president’s determination to create jobs and preserve Americans’ sense of pride in their work. The CCC, also known as Roosevelt’s tree army, was a second chance for thousands of unemployed young men (many of whom were in dire need of income, but also vocational and educational training).

From 1933-42, President Roosevelt’s “CCC boys” dramatically improved the nation’s public lands, while also receiving food, shelter, education and a precious $30-a-month stipend that literally saved many of their families from hunger in tough times. By the close of the program, there was hardly a state that had not benefited from the program, with millions of acres of federal and state land improvements, roads built, telephone lines strung and trees planted.


“People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem-they are the answer. We’ll call on Americans to join an Energy Corps to conduct renewable energy and environmental cleanup projects in their neighborhoods.” –Barack Obama July 2, 2008

Like the legendary CCC of the ’30s, today’s Corps are a proven strategy for giving young men and women the chance to change their communities, their own lives and those of their families through service. Carrying forward the CCC’s legacy, modern Corps are often a lifeline to young people who are low-income, out-of-school, out-of-work, and looking for a second chance. But more than that, Corps are also a place for all young people to channel a drive to serve, strive toward their potential, and do meaningful work that directly impacts their communities.

If the generation that filled the ranks of the CCC were to be called the greatest generation, today’s modern Corpsmembers prove that still greater things lie ahead. Unlike few before them, America’s young adults are compelled to serve and motivated to meet the profound challenges of their day – namely, climate change.

Modern Service and Conservation Corps are a concrete example of the solution-driven American ethic of service President-elect Obama spoke of so eloquently.

During the campaign, President-elect Obama committed to establishing a Clean Energy Corps that would, “promote energy independence through efforts like weatherization, renewable energy projects and educational outreach…and to clean up polluted land and water, plant trees, and work for the environmental health of our nation’s natural areas.” He also proposed the creation of a Green Jobs Corps “for disconnected and disadvantaged youth… to provide participants with service opportunities to improve energy conservation and efficiency of homes and buildings in their communities, while also providing practical experience in important career fields of expected high-growth employment.”

Service and Conservation Corps across the nation are already engaged in a wide variety of energy service and job training activities. For example, the Ohio Civilian Conservation Corps at Quilter, housed in a Community Action Agency, builds professionals through service: Corpsmembers join the CAA weatherization team after they have gained experience through service and achieved related certification.

In addition, Service and Conservation Corps are providing viable solutions to other national concerns, such as our decaying transportation and infrastructure systems, the high school drop-out crisis, and youth incarceration. Each day, Corpsmembers also combat climate change through their conservation efforts on public lands.

Across the nation, Corps stand ready to provide solutions to pressing problems and respond to national needs.

Please contact The Corps Network’s Director of Government Relations, Mary Ellen Ardouny, for more details at 202.737.6272 or[email protected].

President Barack Obama Signs Serve America Act into Law


Tuesday, April 21, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law. In a gathering at the SEED School in downtown Washington, DC, the president was joined by public officials including Senators Kennedy and Hatch, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Reid, General Colin Powell, Vice President Biden, President Bill Clinton, First Ladies Michelle Obama and Rosalynn Carter, and a small group of representatives from the national service community (including The Corps Network’s President and CEO, Sally T. Prouty).

In his remarks, the president noted that this bill will offer increased service opportunities in a time when applications for AmeriCorps, Teach for America, and Peace Corps programs are sky-rocketing. President Obama described the rising generation of potential public servants, saying, “I’ve met countless people of all ages and walks of life who want nothing more than to do their part… They’re a generation that came of age amidst the horrors of 9/11 and Katrina, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an economic crisis without precedent. And yet, despite all this — or more likely because of it — they’ve become a generation of activists possessed with that most American of ideas, that people who love their country can change it.”

The Serve America Act will expand AmeriCorps from 75,000 slots to more than 250,000 in five years. Among the special Corps programs to be launched through this legislation is the Clean Energy Service Corps. As the president explained, “Because millions of Americans are out of school and out of work, [the Serve America Act] creates an Energy Corps that will help people find useful work and gain skills in a growing industry of the future.”

View Sally’s snapshots from the bill signing.

Read President Obama’s full remarks or watch a video clip:



The Youth Corps Act

Help Support the Youth Corps Act of 2011!

The number one goal of Service and Conservation Corps and The Corps Network is to see a dedicated funding stream established at the federal level to support Corps. With legislation pending in the House (H.R. 711), we’re closer to seeing that happen than at any other time in the past 25 years!

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono has introduced The Youth Corps Act of 2011, a bill that would create a home for Corps within the Department of Labor. Specifically, this legislation will create a grant program within the Department of Labor to provide funding for youth Service and Conservation Corps to access in order to provide education and job training to at-risk youth across the nation. 

Download “The Youth Corps Act” one pager to share with your members of Congress.

An impressive list of cosponsors is critical to moving this legislation forward. Current cosponsors include:

H.R. 711:

Rep Andrews, Robert E. [NJ-1] – 2/15/2011
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] – 10/3/2011
Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] – 3/14/2011
Rep Chu, Judy [CA-32] – 10/5/2011
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] – 7/13/2011
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. “Gerry” [VA-11] – 7/6/2011
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] – 8/30/2011
Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] – 2/17/2011
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] – 6/22/2011
Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25] – 2/16/2012
Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] – 8/19/2011
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] – 2/16/2011
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] – 7/25/2011
Rep Hanabusa, Colleen W. [HI-1] – 7/8/2011
Rep Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5] – 2/16/2011
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] – 9/23/2011
Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] – 6/15/2011
Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] – 3/8/2011
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] – 2/15/2011
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] – 10/3/2011
Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] – 3/19/2012
Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] – 9/23/2011
Rep Richardson, Laura [CA-37] – 6/13/2011
Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12] – 6/15/2011
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] – 9/13/2011

The Youth Corps Act of 2011 is a win-win-win youth workforce building solution.


California Conservation Corps and Marin Conservation Corps Honor Civilian Conservation Corps


Three “CCC boys” were honored last Saturday as part of a 75th anniversary celebration for the Civilian Conservation Corps (original CCC), held at Mt. Tamalpais State Park in Marin County. Members of the California Conservation Corps and the Marin Conservation Corps (now Conservation Corps North Bay) joined together to help clean up the magnificent rock amphitheater built by the original CCC in the 1930s and is still in use today. Representatives from California State Parks presented a proclamation from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the California Conservation Corps’ (CCC) Jimmy Camp read a letter from CCC Director David Muraki.

To learn more about the event, visit the Marin Independent Journal website.

Director David Muraki also published an op-ed about the original CCC in numerous California newspapers. To read David’s op-ed, visit the Santa Monica Mirror website.