Senators McCain and Bennet Introduce 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Legislation that would bolster the public-private 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Initiative was introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act (21CSC Act) would expand the number of federal agencies that can partner with Service and Conservation Corps programs using existing funding mechanisms to accomplish important work that restores and enhances America’s great outdoors and public lands.

In addition to providing a framework for more federal agencies to enter cooperative agreements with Corps programs and develop standards for data collection and program evaluation, the bill would extend the non-competitive hiring eligibility with federal agencies from 120 days to two years for Corps participants serving for at least 640 hours during their term of service. This authority would enhance career pathways for young people and veterans, who as a result of their service in Corps have obtained specific skills relevant to excelling in federal service positions. The bill would not provide additional funding to agencies, but would encourage creative strategies and private partnerships to leverage existing funding sources. 

“The introduction of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act marks an important step in expanding the high-impact partnership opportunities that America’s Service and Corps can provide to federal agencies and to the career pathways of young people and veterans who serve,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network. “We appreciate the leadership that Senator McCain and Senator Bennet have demonstrated in championing this legislation and initiative.”

“The 21CSC Act will strengthen the Arizona Conservation Corps’ ability to engage Arizona’s young people and veterans to complete mission critical projects in partnership with federal land management agencies. At the same time these young people and veterans will maintain Arizona’s treasures, they will build their own skills and experiences, contributing to a strong and health workforce and economy.  We are very thankful for Senator McCain’s leadership on the 21CSC Act and his long commitment to engaging America’s citizens in national service to help solve our country’s most pressing challenges,” said Paul Schmidt, Executive Director of Arizona Conservation Corps.  

“The 21CSC Act will make it easier for thousands of Colorado’s young people and returning veterans to complete mission critical conservation projects protecting, restoring and enhancing Colorado’s treasured public lands. Each year more than 1,400 young people and veterans serve in Colorado’s conservation corps building and maintaining trails, protecting communities from wildfire, and conserving public places and the 21CSC Act will expand this valuable work. We greatly appreciate Senator Bennet’s leadership to engage Colorado’s young people and veterans in stewarding our state’s treasures,” said Harry Bruell, CEO & President of Conservation Legacy.

About the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC)

The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps is a bold national effort to put thousands of America’s young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors. Built on the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the 21CSC completes high quality, cost-effective projects on public and tribal lands and waters across the nation. Learn more at www.21csc.org

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network provides strategic leadership and support to over 100 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps. Continuing the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, today’s Corps are comprehensive youth development programs that engage participants in meaningful service projects, job training, and academic programming.

Through advocacy, access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables over 23,000 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

Media Contact:

Levi Novey, Director of Communications & Marketing
lnovey@corpsnetwork.org, 202.737.6272