Today, the nation's multitude of State, Local, Federal, and non-profit Corps operate in multiple communities across the country and annually enroll more than 33,000 young men and women in service every year. Corps Organizations annually mobilize approximately 265,000 community volunteers, who in conjunction with the Corps members generate 21 million hours of service every year.
- 142 Corps/SCA in all 50 states
- 33,000 young people (12,500 on federal lands)
- 21 million hours of work/service
- Leverage 265,000 volunteers
Corps programs have been growing steadily since the mid 1990s and organizations have come together to exhibit the breadth of work being done and to engage the public land managers in further support of the programs. The Public Lands Service Coalition is an example of the collaborative work of many of the Corps.
The Public Lands Service Coalition held two National Summits to build upon growing support for youth employment in the political climate. The first summit was held in October of 2010 and the second in February 2011. It was in both of these meetings that the foundation for a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps was laid. In attendance were representatives from:
· Army Corps of Engineers
· Corporation for National & Community Service
· The White House Council on Environmental Quality
· Department of Agriculture
· Department of the Interior
· Department of Labor
· Office of Personnel Management
· Bureau of Indian Affairs
· National Park Service
· US Fish and Wildlife Service
· Bureau of Land Management
· Bureau of Reclamation
· Office of Surface Mining
The findings of those pivotal meetings can be accessed on the resources page at www.doi.gov/21csc.
In June of 2009 the Department of the Interior made a serious commitment to the growth of the Corps Movement by establishing a cabinet level office focused on supporting this work. Joined by Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett and several hundred school children on the National Mall, Secretary of the
Interior Ken Salazar signed a Secretarial Order establishing an Office of Youth in Natural Resources at the Department of the Interior. "President Obama and I believe that during tough economic times, a new national youth program is needed to provide jobs, outdoor experiences and career opportunities for young people –especially women, minorities, tribal and other underserved youth," Salazar said. It was projected that The Office of Youth in Natural Resources would coordinate present and future youth initiatives, the signature program being a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps, modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps that provided 3 million men with jobs in the 1930s. By comparison, the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps will include women as well as men and strive for greater diversity.
The Office was officially staffed in January of 2010 and played a primary role in the America's Great Outdoors Initiative by orchestrating youth listening sessions and contributing to the final America's Great Outdoors Report.
The America's Great Outdoors Report released from the White House in April of 2011, called on the Department of the Interior to "catalyze the establishment of a 21st-Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) in order to engage young Americans in public lands and water restoration." The outlined in subsequent specific recommendation that the Department should form a Federal Advisory Committee to advise the Secretary while working hand-in-hand with a Youth, Jobs & Service Interagency Working Group on the best strategies to develop a sustainable framework for a 21CSC.
The purpose of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) would be to build upon and leverage the experience and expertise of existing Federal and non-profit programs to facilitate conservation service work opportunities on public lands and encourage a new generation of natural resource managers and environmental scientists.
The 21CSC provides the umbrella structure to augment the many existing federal, state, tribal, local, and nonprofit conservation corps and programs. Through the 21CSC America's young people will play a key role in creating a new energy frontier, mitigating climate change impacts, empowering Native American communities, building trails, enhancing wildlife habitat, and improving and restoring our cultural and historic landmarks. The 21CSC will build upon the historical achievements of programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps; engage young people from diverse backgrounds including tribal and underserved populations and those who have little or no opportunity to experience the outdoors; and encourage the participation of young women and girls.
Under this common national identity, the 21CSC supports and promotes a variety of program models to engage diverse young people from 15-25 (as well as college graduates and Veterans who are over 25 years old) with various terms of service including:
- High school teen crews
- Spike crews including front country and backcountry models
- Urban charter-school affiliated crews and Community Corps
- Specialty crews (fire, leadership, technical, Veteran, etc.)
- "Ambassadors" working in schools to engage middle and high school students in community service centered on conservation and outdoor recreation.
- Interns including those focused on issues such as the education/interpretation needs of the agencies
- Year-long positions for advanced participants who have significant experience and/or advanced education
21CSC ensures that all organizations and agencies mobilizing young people have the organizational, programmatic, youth development and risk management capacities to effectively serve as partners to support public lands, waterways and heritage sites.
The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Advisory Committee (21CSC AC) Charter was officially established on November4th 2011 and the committee member appointments were announced on December 12th, 2011. The 21CSC Advisory Committee will work to achieve the goals and recommendations outlined in the America's Great Outdoors Report. They will hold six meetings annually and throughout that time will work with the Youth, Jobs & Service Working Group on recommendations to implement a 21CSC.