The Corps Network Accepting Applications for Host Organizations for New Working Lands Climate Corps Program
The Working Lands Climate Corps (WLCC), part of the American Climate Corps, will place AmeriCorps members with eligible organizations across the country to work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in implementing Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry practices and systems.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)/United States Department of Agriculture, AmeriCorps, and the National Association of Conservation Districts to launch the Working Lands Climate Corps (WLCC). A program of the American Climate Corps, the WLCC will engage at least 100 young adults in technical skills training and climate work across the country.
The Corps Network is now accepting applications for WLCC host organizations; the deadline to apply is 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 8, 2024. The request for proposals and link to apply can be found at corpsnetwork.org/WLCC. The Corps Network and partners will host two virtual information sessions to answer questions about this opportunity. These sessions will happen at 2:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 15, and 11:00 a.m. EST on Tuesday, February 20. Registration is required.
NRCS aims to help agricultural producers, soil and water conservation districts, and other partners protect and conserve natural resources on private lands throughout the United States. Funding from The Platform for Agriculture and Climate Transformation (PACT) will support The Corps Network’s ability to provide subgrants to organizations to host WLCC members across the country, who will provide outreach and education around climate-smart agriculture assistance to farmers, ranchers, and communities. WLCC host organizations will work with state and county-level NRCS staff to facilitate conservation and climate resilience projects, track WLCC member activities, and train members for careers in Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry.
“Managing and protecting our natural resources is a shared responsibility. The work NRCS does in collaboration with partners to improve the resilience of private lands is increasingly important as we see the mounting effects of climate change,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “Engaging young adults in this work through a Corps model offers a way to expand the reach of NRCS, train future workers in climate-smart agriculture practices, and develop a new generation of climate and community leaders. The Corps Network is proud to work with the Biden Administration to stand up the Working Lands Climate Corps, a new initiative through the American Climate Corps that will help deliver on critical workforce and climate priorities. From four decades of experience working at the intersection of conservation, service and workforce development, we know this initiative has the potential to have an important impact on our lands and in developing the climate-ready workforce we need.”
“As part of President Biden’s historic American Climate Corps initiative, USDA’s new Working Lands Climate Corps will train a new generation of Americans to help tackle climate change in rural communities across the country,” said Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small. “This program will provide a pathway to continue to build a workforce of people who understand these programs and their promise to support the delivery of billions of dollars in climate-smart agriculture funding made available through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, putting them on a pathway into good paying careers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
WLCC host organizations may request funding to support one or more WLCC members. Member activities could involve Outreach and Education, Conservation Technical Assistance, Workforce Development and Training, or any combination of these three program elements.
Outreach and Education activities could include, but are not limited to, developing outreach and educational materials, reaching underserved communities with climate-smart agricultural resources, performing on-farm energy awareness activities, and more. Conservation Technical Assistance activities could include, but are not limited to, data collection and assisting in surveying, site inspections, and easement monitoring. Workforce Development activities could include, but are not limited to, providing WLCC members training in climate resilience, environmental justice, leadership development, and more.
WLCC members will be enrolled as AmeriCorps members contingent upon funding availability. Host organizations are highly encouraged to provide a living allowance/training stipend of at least $15/hour. The minimum living allowance/stipend is $11/hour. Members will also receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of up to $6,895 upon successful completion of their service term. Exact education award amounts will vary depending on the length of the member’s term of service.
Eligible host organizations include nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) U.S. organizations, Tribal governments, units of state or local government, and special district governments. Applicants must have an active SAM.gov registration.
The Corps Network and partners anticipate announcing awards to WLCC host organizations by March 31, 2024. Projects are expected to begin no later than September 30, 2024.
Launched by the Biden Administration in September 2023, the American Climate Corps is an initiative that, in its first year, seeks to engage 20,000 young people in “conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice.” As outlined in an announcement in December 2023, the Administration expects to launch a recruitment portal for prospective applicants in spring 2024, positioning the initiative to enroll the first cohort of American Climate Corps members this summer.