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The Corps Network Celebrates Inclusion of $10 Billion for Civilian Climate Corps in American Jobs Plan
America’s Service and Conservation Corps community stands ready to support the Biden administration’s plans for mobilizing the next generation of conservation and resilience workers.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps extends appreciation to President Biden on his administration’s inclusion of a $10 billion investment in a Civilian Climate Corps initiative in the White House’s American Jobs Plan proposal. Across the country, the existing community of Service and Conservation Corps is ready to assist in the implementation of a Civilian Climate Corps program.
“On behalf of the more than 130 member organizations of The Corps Network, I thank President Biden for this proposed investment and belief in the important role a Civilian Climate Corps initiative can play in helping our country address climate change, improve our infrastructure, and train a 21st century workforce,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “As our country confronts numerous challenges, we agree that we cannot afford to return to normal. Now is a time for big ideas and proven solutions. We know from decades of experience that Corps and AmeriCorps offer an effective model for workforce development and addressing critical resource management and infrastructure projects. Since the Civilian Conservation Corps of the New Deal Era, Corps have evolved to meet the changing needs of our young people and communities. At this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, the Corps community is actively providing America’s diverse young people with opportunities to gain job skills while completing work to improve our resilience and sustainability. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the administration to extend similar opportunities to many more Americans.”
On Wednesday, March 31, the White House released a fact sheet outlining proposed expenditures for the President’s American Jobs Plan. This includes a $10 billion investment to “put a new, diverse generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, and advancing environmental justice through a new Civilian Climate Corps, all while placing good-paying union jobs within reach for more Americans.”
This follows an Executive Order issued by President Biden on January 27 of this year that called for the Secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, and other relevant agencies to, within 90 days, propose a plan for establishing a Civilian Climate Corps. That plan is anticipated later this spring.
The Corps Network continues to work with the administration and members of Congress on proposals for how to leverage the existing network of Service and Conservation Corps to engage more Americans in resource management work, including projects to mitigate wildfire damage, rehabilitate habitats, expand access to the outdoors, and improve the energy efficiency of our communities. On March 23, Mary Ellen Sprenkel provided witness testimony on the capacities of Corps during a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee hearing, “Building Back Better: Examining the Future of America’s Public Lands.”
In establishing a Civilian Climate Corps initiative, The Corps Network proposes a model in which projects will be completed through public-private partnerships between various agencies and existing and new community-based Corps, many of which receive support from AmeriCorps. The Corps Network emphasizes that investments in expanding Corps should be equitable, with a focus on intentionally enrolling and supporting women, young people of color, urban and rural youth, and others from historically disenfranchised communities. The Corps Network also emphasizes the importance of not only investing in projects for Corps to complete, but investing in workforce development and career pathways, such that service in Corps can lead to good, well-paying jobs.
Established in 1985, The Corps Network provides leadership and support to more than 130 Corps programs across the United States. Corps are community-based organizations that engage young adults (generally ages 16 – 25) and veterans (up to age 35) in service projects that address conservation and community needs.
Collectively, the member organizations of The Corps Network annually enroll roughly 25,000 young people. Through partnerships with local, state and federal resource managers, Corps complete a range of projects. Among other projects, Corps help restore habitats; build outdoor recreation infrastructure; grow fresh food in under-resourced communities; install energy and water-saving retrofits in low-income homes; preserve historic structures; respond to wildfires and other natural disasters; and mitigate the threat of future disasters. From 2019 through 2020, Corps restored more than 1.7 million acres of habitat, planted more than 1.3 million trees, treated over 208,000 acres of invasive species, and built or improved more than 25,300 miles of trails.
In 2020, Corps across the United States shifted their project priorities to help communities respond to COVID-19. Among other efforts, Corps have helped operate food pantries, deliver necessities to the homebound, distribute emergency medical supplies, and set up temporary medical facilities.
The Corps Network
The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, provides leadership and support to over 130 Corps across the United States. Through advocacy, and providing Corps access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables 25,000 Corpsmembers to strengthen communities, improve the environment and transform their lives through service. To learn more about The Corps Network, please visit www.corpsnetwork.org.
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