Today I'm pleased to announce an ambitious initiative in Interior,
that we'll undertake over the next four years to inspire millions
of young people to play, to learn, to serve, and to work in the
This is a generation that is more disconnected tha-, to nature,
than any generation before it; more connected to the technology
world, but really interested in making a difference in their
careers, in their communities, and, uh, that's a great opportunity
for us to reach out and connect with this new generation.
Department of the Interior, just like so many other federal, state,
and local agencies, has an aging workforce. About a third will be
eligible to retire within five years. These are people that have a
deep connection, a deep knowledge, about public lands, but we need
to transfer that knowledge to a new generation.
So, I'm committed in leading the Department of the Interior in
making sure we welcome a new generation of young people into public
land stewardship, into science -- to become park rangers of the
future, to become scientists of the future, to become wildlife
biologists -- and those who support them.
I've had the privilege of being out on many service projects in the
outdoors with young people, and one thing that strikes me is, when
they get their hands dirty working on the land, when they make a
difference and they build a segment of trail, they never look at
that place in the same way.
They walk around a park and they pick up garbage -- they have a
very different view about garbage in that park. It is a connection
that stays with them forever and, uh, is long-lasting.
Like the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the '30s, when many,
many young men were employed in work on our public lands, the 2.0
version of the Civilian Conservation Corps is the 21st Century
Conservation Service Corps.
What's different about it is it engages public-private
partnerships. It works with non-profit organizations like the many
Youth Conservation Corps around the country. It brings them
together with businesses who are not only helping us financially
support this effort, but engaging their employees and their
customers, and providing job opportunities for these young people
when they're finished doing this conservation work.
I'm calling on businesses to help us in this effort, to make
financial contributions that will help support Youth Conservation
Corps, giving young people a stipend to do work on our public
lands. I'm calling on them also to join us by coming out and
volunteering, themselves -- with their employees, but also with
And then I'm asking businesses to give a hiring preference to these
young people that spend time working so hard on our public lands,
to bring those skills to their businesses and be even better
employees for them.
Engaging the millennial generation in service on public lands,
welcoming them into the Department of the Interior, and so many
other opportunities to have work within public lands management, is
going to be a critical part of our future, if we care about these
special places that help define us.
These young people, through their work on public lands, are getting
a taste for what we, as human beings, yearn for -- which is a
connection to nature and the outdoors that feeds our soul, but is
also important to who we are as human beings, who we are as
Americans, and that helps define this country and what's special
about this country.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell lays out her vision for the Department's youth initiative.