(NationalUSNews.com) — In September, the Biden White House announced the creation of the American Climate Corps (ACC) which will be an offshoot of AmeriCorps, which is an independent agency of the United States government that is responsible for a variety of stipend-funded volunteer work programs across many different sectors.
The new program would be part of Americorps’ environmental branch. Even before applications were being accepted, thousands of people have expressed interest in joining the program. The program is intended to be like President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program in the 1930s. With the focus on caring for America’s environment and natural lands and creating good job opportunities for young people, the comparison seems to be apt.
This week, Forest Corps, which is a joint program between AmeriCorps and the U.S. Forest Service, started accepting applications. The ACC has stated that this will be the first of many interagency programs they hope to implement. As a stipend-funded program, participants will receive a benefits package that is “equivalent to $15/hour.” Lodging, transportation, and health benefits will be included, as well as clothing, a living allowance, and more. They will be placed nationwide in programs for forest and grassland conservation, wildfire risk mitigation and crisis response, and reforestation. AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith says AmeriCorps and the U.S. Forest Service are dedicated to the training of workers focused on “diverse conservation and climate resilience.”
According to a statement from the White House, the program will put over 20,000 Americans into action on behalf of America’s climate goals while providing them with training that may carry them on to successful careers in clean-energy and climate change-related fields when they complete the program and are ready to move onwards and upwards.
The statement also said that the initiative will focus on equity and environmental justice. AmeriCorps programs are open to people who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who are between the ages of 18 and 26. They must also be available for 10–11 months of full-time service, or 2-3 months for their summer programs. Failure to pass drug screening is disqualifying and can result in expulsion.
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