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: