In its first year, the American Climate Corps will put more than 20,000 young people on career pathways in the growing fields of clean energy, conservation and climate resilience
Since taking office, President Biden has delivered on the most ambitious climate, clean energy, conservation, and environmental justice agenda in history – signing into law the largest investment in climate action ever, protecting more than 21 million acres of public lands and water, and advancing the Justice40 Initiative, which directs 40 percent of the benefits from key federal investments to disadvantaged communities. As part of this historic commitment to tackle the climate crisis, President Biden promised to mobilize the next generation of clean energy, conservation and resilience workers.
Today, through his Investing in America agenda, President Biden is delivering on that commitment by taking executive action to launch the American Climate Corps – a workforce training and service initiative that will ensure more young people have access to the skills-based training necessary for good-paying careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy. The American Climate Corps will mobilize a new, diverse generation of more than 20,000 Americans – putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice, all while creating pathways to high-quality, good-paying clean energy and climate resilience jobs in the public and private sectors after they complete their paid training program.
The American Climate Corps will focus on equity and environmental justice – prioritizing communities traditionally left behind, including energy communities that powered our nation for generations, leveraging the talents of all members of our society, and prioritizing projects that help meet the Administration’s Justice40 goal. Additionally, President Biden is calling on Tribal, State, and local governments, labor unions, nonprofit service allies, the private sector, and philanthropy to collaborate with the Federal government to expand skills-based training partnerships to ensure our nation has the workforce necessary to meet our climate goals. In fact, just today, five new states are launching their own Climate Corps, which will work as implementing collaborators of the American Climate Corps. With today’s announcement, ten states will have launched Climate Corps since 2021.
Additionally, the White House is launching a new website where anyone interested in joining or supporting the American Climate Corps can sign up to learn more: www.whitehouse.gov/climatecorps.
The American Climate Corps will:
- Train young people in clean energy, conservation and climate resilience related skills: The American Climate Corps is a new initiative that will provide the next generation of Americans with job training and service opportunities to work on a wide range of projects that tackle climate change – including restoring coastal wetlands to protect communities from storm surges and flooding, deploying clean energy, managing forests to improve health and prevent catastrophic wildfires, implementing energy efficient solutions to cut energy bills for hardworking families, and more. All American Climate Corps programs will be paid experiences that adhere to a common set of programmatic standards, and provide pathways to high-quality employment opportunities in the public and private sectors. No prior experience is required for most positions. Through the American Climate Corps, federal departments and agencies, will build upon existing relationships to ensure that all young people have the chance to participate in these opportunities.
- Coordinate Recruitment Across Federal Programs: In the coming months, to facilitate a streamlined experience for American Climate Corps participants, the Federal government will launch a dedicated American Climate Corps recruitment website, where participants can learn about and apply for opportunities in their community and organizations can learn how to work with American Climate Corps members. Moreover, to ensure Federal agencies are working together to implement the American Climate Corps, the Department of Labor, Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Energy, and AmeriCorps will sign a memorandum of understanding to formalize this new initiative, and AmeriCorps will stand up a new “American Climate Corps hub,” which will support the American Climate Corps.
- Expand AmeriCorps Segal Education Awards Access: Today, President Biden is encouraging the Chief Executive Officer of AmeriCorps to consider expanding access to Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards to American Climate Corps members conducting national service work. Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards can be used by AmeriCorps members after completing their service to pay for post-secondary education and training or to reduce their student debt.
- Streamline Pathways into Civil Service: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued a proposed rulemaking that could, if finalized, create a streamlined pathway into federal service for federally-supported national, state, local, or Tribal service programs, including American Climate Corps programs.
- Leverage Tribal, State and Local Governments: Five states across the country, including California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Washington, have already launched successful climate corps programs, demonstrating the power of skills-based training as a tool to expand pathways into good-paying jobs. Today, five new states – Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Maryland – are moving forward with state-based climate corps that are funded through public-private partnerships, including AmeriCorps, which will work with the American Climate Corps as implementing collaborators to ensure young people across the country are serving their communities, while participating in paid opportunities and working on projects to tackle climate change.
Today’s announcement builds on nearly $500 million of Biden-Harris Administration investments to expand pathways into good-paying union jobs by prioritizing Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs, including in clean energy and other climate-focused careers. To continue building on this historic agenda, the Administration is:
- Investing in Pre-Apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships through the Department of Labor: Earlier this year the Department of Labor YouthBuild program awarded $90 million to grantees, including supporting pre-apprenticeships that will educate and train young people in green initiatives. And the Department of Labor supported a historic $20M cooperative agreement with the TradesFutures, a non-profit working to develop, promote and improve Apprenticeship Readiness Programs, to advance equitable opportunities in construction trades. TradesFutures seeks to enroll more than 13,000 participants in pre-apprenticeship readiness programs – giving them hands-on learning experience and skill development – and expects to subsequently place at least 7,000 of them into Registered Apprenticeships in the construction industry.
- Investing in Pre-Apprenticeship Programs through the Department of Energy: Today, the Department of Energy’s Career Skills Training Program announced $10 million to provide grants to pay the Federal share of career skills training programs under which students concurrently receive classroom instruction and on-the-job training for the purpose of obtaining an industry-related certification to install energy efficient building technologies. Additionally, just this week, DOE hosted the inaugural meeting of the 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board, which is charged with advising the Secretary of Energy in developing a strategy for the Department of Energy to support and develop a skilled energy workforce, including—among other goals—prioritizing effective education and job training for underrepresented groups and socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals.
- Expanding National Service Opportunities to Advance our Wildfire Crisis Strategy: Today, AmeriCorps and U.S. Forest Service launched Forest Corps – a five-year $15 million agreement, and the first major interagency partnership under President Biden’s American Climate Corps. Beginning next summer, this program will engage 80 young adults, ages 18-26, in wildland fire prevention, reforestation, and other natural and cultural resource management projects to support the U.S. Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy and Reforestation Strategy. Consistent with President Biden’s call for Congress to increase the AmeriCorps living allowance, AmeriCorps NCCC Forest Corps members will receive a compensation package equivalent to $15 an hour, including lodging, transportation, clothing, a living allowance, health benefit, and more. Members will receive extensive training, hands-on-experience, and leadership skills for future careers in natural resource management, forest health, and climate resilience at the U.S Forest Service or other organizations.
- Expanding the Indian Youth Service Corps: This week the Department of the Interior announced a $15 million commitment through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expand the Indian Youth Service Corps and other programs supporting the next generation of conservation and climate stewards. This effort will be facilitated in collaboration with the Office of Strategic Partnerships, which was launched during the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit to assist with building partnerships, leveraging resources, and promoting innovative solutions for Indian Country. With funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the Interior Department will expand the capacity of the Corps and similar projects serving underserved communities by 30 percent, reaching over 5,000 young people. The expanded programs will work with federally recognized Tribes and Tribal organizations as well as programs serving the U.S. territories, the Native Hawaiian Community, and urban communities across the United States.