FAQ: USDA and other federal agencies are forming a new modern-day Conservation Corps, with similar goals as the old Civilian Conservation Corps of many years ago. What progress is being made so for on this new effort to help preserve our nation's soil, water, forests, improve our parks and public lands and other natural resources and in the process to put young people to work, and veterans to work, who are looking for employment?
Answer: Leaders of eight federal departments and agencies on January 10, 2013 announced they signed an agreement setting up a national council to guide implementation of the Obama Administration's 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) - a national collaborative effort to put America's youth and returning veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America's great outdoors.
By signing the Memorandum of Understanding, the U.S. Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Labor, as well as the EPA Administrator, Chair of the President's Council on Environmental Quality, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and Assistant Secretary for the Army (Civil Works) established the National Council for the 21CSC - fully implementing the first recommendation of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative introduced by President Obama in 2010.
Building on legacy of Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s
"The President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative is helping to connect Americans from all backgrounds with the recreational, economic and health benefits of our nation's extraordinary natural resources," said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps will help prepare the leaders of the future by providing youth with valuable opportunities for recreation, career development and service to their community and their Nation."
"Building on the legacy of President Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps will help build and train a workforce who fully represent the diversity of America while creating the next generation of environmental stewards and improving the condition of our public lands," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Partnerships with youth conservation corps across the country
The 21CSC focuses on helping young people including diverse low-income, underserved and at-risk youth, as well as returning veterans gain valuable training and work experience while accomplishing needed conservation and restoration work on public lands, waterways and cultural heritage sites. It builds on existing partnerships with youth conservation corps across the country to engage thousands of young Americans in hands-on service and job training experiences on public lands and community green spaces.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
"By coordinating resources across the federal family and working with partners, the 21CSC will accomplish important restoration work, provide more job and training opportunities to a diverse group of young Americans, expand educational opportunities for youth, and create meaningful pathways to careers - all while reconnecting America's youth with the great outdoors," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
"This is a great example of how innovative partnerships are utilizing government resources more efficiently and effectively," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The Labor Department is committed to working with our partners to provide young people - especially those from underserved communities - with exposure to a wide variety of in-demand jobs and valuable training opportunities that can form the foundation of lifelong careers."
Federal lands and waters are vital to health and well-being of the nation
"Our federal lands and waters are vital to the health and well-being of Americans," added Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), who oversees the Corps of Engineers. "The 21CSC will expand the Corps' capacities to conserve and maintain these areas, and provide youth and veterans with meaningful work, education and exposure to the outdoors."
The National Council will work across the federal government to support the 21CSC by enhancing partnerships with existing youth corps programs around the nation; stimulating existing and new public-private partnerships; and aligning the investment of current federal government resources.
Members will be represented on the National Council by members of the senior leadership of each agency, bureau or office. The National Council will initially be co-chaired by representatives from the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, for a one-year term, after which the two co-chair positions will be chosen from among the National Council members by consensus. For more information on the 21CSC, visit www.doi.gov/21csc.