The Corps Network Applauds Introduction of 21CSC Act (H.R.5114) in the United States House of Representatives

Legislation will help advance the 21CSC’s goal of engaging 100,000 youth and veterans in protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s public lands and waters.

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC (APRIL 29, 2016) – The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, applauds bipartisan introduction of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act (H.R.5114) in the United States House of Representatives on Thursday, April 28th by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). They were joined by original co-sponsors Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA). Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) is also a cosponsor.

The 21CSC is a bold national initiative to annually engage 100,000 youth and veterans in service on America’s public lands by 2018. The 192 official 21CSC member organizations currently engage tens of thousands of young people every year in completing quality, cost-effective maintenance and improvement projects in city parks and on public and tribal lands and waters across the country. The programs of the 21CSC help address the backlogged maintenance needs of land and water management agencies; enhance outdoor recreation opportunities; improve the accessibility of public lands; and respond to wildfires and other natural disasters.

The 21CSC Act was introduced in the United States Senate (S.1993) in August 2015 by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). If signed into law, the 21CSC Act would allow federal land and water management agencies – like the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service –  to meet their missions in a cost-efficient manner through formal, more effective partnerships with 21CSC member organizations. It would also enable additional federal agencies to more easily partner with 21CSC organizations to accomplish their goals. The 21CSC Act would:

  • Expand the number of federal agencies that can work with 21CSC programs. Enlisting Conservation Corps to do priority work has often proven to be more cost-effective for federal agencies.
  • Encourage federal agencies to collaborate, and require that they use only existing resources to work with 21CSC programs, meaning there would be no additional cost to tax-payers.
  • Prioritize the engagement of recent veterans and disadvantaged youth in 21CSC programs.
  • Establish standards for data collection and measuring the effectiveness of 21CSC programs.
  • Provide two years of non-competitive hiring eligibility with federal agencies for young people and veterans who gain valuable skills through service in 21CSC programs.

“In Arizona, natural beauty is all around us,” said Congresswoman McSally (R-AZ). “The problem is that a backlog of needed restoration projects on our public lands is restricting access for Arizonans and tourists at our parks and public areas. Additional resources provided to reduce this backlog have failed to make a dent in it, which is why we need better solutions. My bill leverages existing resources in a smarter way to get these projects moving and ensure the public can once again fully enjoy our national parks. I thank Congressman Moulton for working with me on this legislation and look forward to working together to move it forward.”

“Enjoying the outdoors and our great national parks is a quintessentially American experience, but it’s one that more and more Americans are losing out on because of the mounting backlog of National Parks Service projects,” said Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), a co-lead of the legislation. “We need innovative solutions and the 21CSC is just that -- it codifies public-private partnerships between conservation groups and our park services, while affording young people and veterans meaningful work experience. This bipartisan bill effectively joins service with stewardship, and in doing so, it will make our country a better place. I was proud to work with Congresswoman McSally on this effort to protect 21CSC and promote conservation and national service opportunities at the same time.”

“We are extremely grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Representatives McSally and Moulton on the 21CSC Act in the House,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “The 21CSC is a win-win: Corps train the next generation of leaders by putting young people and veterans to work helping land and water managers care for America’s natural resources. The 21CSC Act will help land and water managers achieve more with limited budgets and ensure that more young people have the opportunity to serve our country and veterans can find a pathway to careers through a continuation of their service.”

The 21CSC is built on a partnership among conservation programs, land management agencies and the private sector. It was launched as part of President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative (2010) to “develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda.” Through listening sessions, formal recommendations and online voting, the first America’s Great Outdoors Report (2011) included a recommendation to catalyze the establishment of a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In 2013, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that DOI would work to expand the initiative through partnerships with the private sector. Since then, the 21CSC has received investments from American Eagle Outfitters, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the REI Foundation, The North Face, Thule, the Campion Foundation, Camelbak, the Youth Outdoor Legacy fund, KEEN Utility and others.  

 

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

 

About the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps

The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) is a national initiative to increase the engagement of youth and veterans in the restoration, enhancement and preservation of America’s public lands. The goal of the 21CSC is to increase civilian national service positions on public lands and encourage federal land and water management agencies to use conservation corps to meet their missions.

To learn more about the 21CSC, please visit www.21csc.org.

 

 

Media Contact:

Hannah Traverse
The Corps Network
1275 K Street, NW - Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.737.6272
Email: htraverse@corpsnetwork.org