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The Corps Network Releases Briefing Book to raise awareness about Service and Conservation Corps with 2016 Presidential Campaigns
Strengthening America Together: Service & Conservation Corps outlines how Corps address some of America’s most pressing challenges, as well as steps the next administration can take to expand and strengthen Corps.
WASHINGTON, DC (August 23, 2016) – The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, today released Strengthening America Together: Service & Conservation Corps, a briefing book designed to provide information to the 2016 presidential campaigns about Service and Conservation Corps and ways to expand Corps operations for the betterment of American communities and public lands. The document serves as an introduction to Corps and an invitation to candidates to visit Corps, particularly those based in key election states.
Strengthening America Together begins by outlining five recommended actions the incoming administration should take in order to strengthen Corps operations and expand the use of Corps in addressing a range of issues in the United States. These recommendations are as follows:
1. Create a 21st Century Corps Leadership Council: A council comprised of representatives from the federal resource management and infrastructure agencies should oversee public-private partnerships between Corps and the government. This council would help relevant agencies use existing programs and funding to engage Corps in meeting their missions.
2. Encourage land agencies to allocate more of their existing budgets to partner with Corps: There are billions of dollars in backlogged maintenance and improvement projects on America’s public lands. Corps offer a cost-effective solution to complete this work. With the help of Corps, land management agencies can improve access to public lands and address wildfires and infrastructure needs.
3. Promote increased engagement of Corps in addressing urban challenges: Corps in America’s biggest cities address issues related to energy efficiency, water infrastructure, human services and transportation. Federal agencies should prioritize Corps on RFP’s and set-aside a portion of existing funds to, for example, engage Corps in the Community Development Block Grant program, and water and transportation projects.
4. Leverage disaster-related funding to increase Corps work in resiliency/disaster response: Corps implement natural resource and community resiliency projects and respond to major disasters. FEMA, and related disaster resiliency and mitigation funding, should be better leveraged to engage Corps in these efforts.
5. Expand service year opportunities: All young people who want to serve our country should be able to. AmeriCorps should be fully funded to reach 250,000 annual service members; non-competitive federal hiring and college credit should be provided for serving; Corps should be scaled up during times of high unemployment; and flexibility is needed to use Corps as workforce and pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship programs.
“Over the past eight years, the Obama administration has shown great support for Corps and national service. We look forward to working with the next administration to continue this momentum,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network. “Our hope is that Strengthening America Together can serve as a guide to not only understanding the value of Service and Conservation Corps, but thinking of new ways our country can utilize Corps to address pressing community issues. We see this document as our invitation to the candidates to visit Corps and experience firsthand the immense impact these programs have on people and public lands.”
Strengthening America Together specifically examines how Corps: 1) help resource management agencies maintain public lands in a cost-effective manner; 2) build a more competitive workforce; 3) help opportunity youth reach their full potential; and 4) create more resilient, modern communities.
Strengthening America Together is available online.
About The Corps Network
The Corps Network provides leadership and support to over 130 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps. Through advocacy, access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables over 24,000 Corpsmembers, ages 16-25, 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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