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The Corps Network Recognizes Secretary Tom Vilsack as a Champion of Youth Service and Conservation Corps

Harris Sherman (right), Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture, accepts the 2013 Federal Champion Award on behalf of Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pictured with Joel Holtrop, Chair of The Corps Network Board of Directors. 

For Immediate Release                                                                                            

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Secretary Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture received The Corps Network’s highest honor, the Federal Champion Award, at a ceremony in the Cannon House Office Building on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

Every year, The Corps Network presents the Federal Champion Award to policymakers and public officials whose work promotes and encourages the growth and sustainability of America’s youth service and conservation corps. The Honorable Tom Vilsack was selected for this award to acknowledge his continued support of youth corps and for providing leadership in the creation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, based on the model of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.

“We wish to thank Secretary Vilsack for his support of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps,” said Mary Ellen Ardouny, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “This initiative will not only continue the legacy set forth by the Great Depression era Civilian Conservation Corps, it will also help many young people get valuable work experience and develop job skills while completing projects that improve some of our nation’s most treasured national parks, forests, seashores, and wildlife refuges. This is a combination of positive outcomes that we can all appreciate.”

“Our commitment to provide developmental opportunities for America’s youth will continue to payoff for years to come,” said Vilsack.  “Their contributions will strengthen communities while supporting conservation initiatives for future generations.”

As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Secretary Vilsack has worked to implement President Obama’s agenda to put Americans back to work. The USDA has supported farmers, ranchers and growers who are enjoying record earnings; provided food assistance to 1 in 4 Americans; conserved our natural resources; and helped provide a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply for the American people. Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, USDA has enrolled a record number of private working lands in conservation programs and implemented new strategies to restore our forests and waterways. This work is creating private sector jobs that protect and rehabilitate our forests and wetlands, and provide increased opportunities for outdoor recreation. He and his senior staff have also been great champions of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. At the award ceremony, Secretary Vilsack’s Federal Champion Award was accepted on his behalf by Harris Sherman, USDA’s Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.

In addition to the recipients of the Federal Champion Award, the February 13th ceremony also recognized The Corps Network’s 2013 Corpsmembers of the Year and 2013 Projects of the Year. The six Corpsmembers of the Year are young men and women who have stood out as leaders and role models in the corps movement, while the three Project of the Year recipients represented some of the most innovative programs at Corps throughout the country.

Service and conservation corps are comprehensive youth development programs that provide their participants with job training, academic programming, leadership skills, and additional support through a strategy of service that improves communities and the environment. Today’s corps are a direct descendant of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, through which three million young men dramatically improved the nation’s public lands while receiving food, shelter, education, and a precious $30-a-month stipend.

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network is the voice of the nation’s 143 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in 44 states and the District of Columbia, Corps annually enroll more than 29,000 young men and women in service every year. Corps mobilize approximately 226,000 community volunteers who in conjunction with Corpsmembers generate 21.3 million hours of service every year. For more information, visit corpsnetwork.org or contact Levi Novey at [email protected] or 202.737.6272.

Media Contact:

Levi Novey
The Corps Network
1100 G Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.737.6272
Fax: 202.737.6277
Email: [email protected]