Q1. What is 21CSC?
The 21CSC is a bold national effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s Great Outdoors. The 21CSC seeks to build upon and leverage the experience and expertise of existing federal, state, tribal, local and non-profit conservation and youth corps, and veteran programs to accomplish the following goals: Build America’s future; Put Americans to work; and Preserve, protect, and promote America’s greatest gifts.
Q2. What activities do 21CSC member organizations support?
A wide range of activities contribute to the protection, restoration and enhancement of public lands and waterways. Examples of 21CSC activities include, but are not limited to:
- Improve recreation access
- Preserve public lands
- Repair & rebuild campsites
- Preserve historic structures
- Eradicate invasive & noxious weeds
- Conduct research & needs assessments
- Protect wildlife habitat
- Protect communities from wildfire
- Support hydrology programs
- Manage volunteer programs
- Remove brush
- Coordinate outreach
Q3. What are some of the most recent updates about 21CSC?
21CSC programs are part of a bold national effort involving eight federal departments to put thousands of America’s young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors. Each federal department – and, hopefully, state, regional, tribal and local agencies in the future – is looking for ways to engage 21CSC programs. Here are a few examples of what is being done to support 21CSC programs:
- Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has made 21CSC a central part of her youth agenda and is seeking to raise $20M in private funding to support 21CSC programs as well as encouraging further Departmental engagement of 21CSC programs.
- The US Forest Service is encouraging support of 21CSC programs in communications to the field.
- The Corporation for National and Community Service noted in its Announcement of AmeriCorps State and National Grants FY 2014 that it, “is exploring potential programs along the lines of a 21CSC.”
- The Environmental Protection Agency listed being a 21CSC program as an ‘additional consideration’ in its FY14 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant Guidelines.
Q4. What is anticipated scale of the 21CSC?
The President’s America’s Great Outdoors Progress Report stated a goal for the 21CSC of reaching 100,000 participants per year.
Q5. How many young people and veterans are currently participating in the 21CSC?
The initial 100 21CSC programs enrolled approximately 20,000 participants in 2013 supported by approximately $400,000,000 in federal, state, local and private funding.
Q6. This initiative is to be a part of a group that meets the listed criteria and not for grant funding, correct?
Yes, you are correct. This Notice is not a grant funding opportunity but an attempt to identify organizations that are responsive to the 21CSC principles. Those organizations that demonstrate they are responsive to the criteria listed in the principles will be included in a 21CSC Directory of Programs that will be available to the federal agencies listed on the Notice for the period defined in the Notice (through the 2014 calendar year).
Q7. Are non-profits in the United States Virgin Islands eligible to submit a letter of interest?
Yes, non-profits in the United States Virgin Islands are eligible to submit a letter of interest for consideration as a 21CSC member organization.
Q8. What federal agencies are behind this initiative?
Departments of Defense (Army Corps of Engineers), Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Information for Interested and Potential Members
Q9. What are the benefits of 21CSC membership?
- Nationally recognized contribution to improvements of public lands and waterways.
- Access to a national network of 21CSC member organizations.
- Use of 21CSC branding and marketing materials.
- Access to career pathways in natural and cultural resources, and environmental and other disciplines in the federal and non-profit sectors.
Q10. What are the eligibility requirements for 21CSC membership?
- Organizational membership is based on adherence to the eight 21CSC principles listed in the Federal Register Notice.
- All organizations with an interest in 21CSC are encouraged to submit letters of interest to the 21CSC National Council through the USDA Forest Service.
Q11. Does any applicant organization have to be one that is currently doing this type of work or could they organize to do so?
The Notice states “all principals of interested organizations are invited to submit a letter of interest that outlines the organization’s and/or program’s criteria.” Therefore, any interested organization is eligible to respond. However, the 21CSC National Council will review letters of interest to determine if a respondent is designated as a 21CSC member organization based on whether or not the organization or program “currently meet each of the criteria listed in all 21CSC principles” as stated in the Notice. Additionally, “Organizations may submit letters of interest including new and resubmissions up to 1 year after the date of this notice. Letters will be reviewed quarterly.”
Q12. When and how can an organization apply?
Information on how to become a 21CSC member organization is available at http://21csc.org/find-a-program/become-a-program/. A list of the 21CSC Principles as Adopted by the National Council for the 21CSC is http://21csc.org/principles/. The instructions in the federal register notice are available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-11/pdf/2014-08101.pdf. Per those instructions, interested programs should submit letters of interest (maximum 5 pages, double-spaced in Times New Roman, 12 point type) to 21CSC@fs.fed.us or by mail to USDA Forest Service, RHVR, ATTN: Merlene Mazyck, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop Code: 1125, Washington, DC 20250-1125. Letters should demonstrate how the program meets the 21CSC Principles as Adopted by the National Council for the 21CSC.
Q13. Our organization operates both youth and adult workforce programs that meet seven of the eight 21CSC Principles. Our summer youth employment program serves students who are 15 – 19 years old. Must our program be open to people all the way up to age 25 to be eligible for 21CSC membership consideration? Do our program participants have to be military veterans under the age of 36 exclusively to qualify for 21CSC membership on this basis?
Programs within organizations that serve youth and/or veterans within the age range specified (15 to 25 and/or military veterans up to age 35) may be eligible to become a 21CSC member organization, if they also meet the additional 21CSC principles. Programs within 21CSC member organizations are not required to serve youth and veterans at every age within the age range specified to be considered. Organizations may also serve populations that are outside the 21CSC age ranges, however those program activities will not be included with the 21CSC designation. Concerning military veterans, all program participants must be under the age of 36.
Q14. What if all of my participants or programs don’t meet the 21CSC Principles?
Organizations have multiple programs that typically engage a wide variety of participants. We expect that many organizations will have some programs and participants that fit 21CSC and others programs and participants that do not. You are encouraged to submit a letter of interest for those parts of your organization that fit the 21CSC Principles.
Q15. Should I write the letter to address how we specifically meet the program’s principles that are outline in the request? Is there any other info to include that would be helpful to the selection committee?
Yes, your letter should address each of the criteria in the principles. This will allow the review committee to conduct a thorough assessment of your organization’s alignment with all eight of the principles—Population Served, Participant Eligibility, Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion, Term of Service, Organization of Work, Types of Work, Participant Outcomes, and Leveraged Investment. If your letter of interest comprehensively addresses how your organization meets each of the criteria defined in the eight principles, the review committee will have sufficient information to determine your eligibility as a 21CSC member organization; no other information is necessary.
Q16. What is the approximate notification period/How long does it take to hear back regarding membership?
The 21CSC National Council will review submissions on a rolling basis, and candidates will be notified of their status shortly thereafter.
Information for Existing Members
Q17. What are the reporting requirements for being a 21CSC member organization?
There are currently no official reporting requirements but we strongly encourage 21CSC member organizations to participate in the Partnership for the 21CSC’s (P-21CSC) data collection efforts. These efforts include a baseline survey to collect information about the program and then annual surveys on the number of participants and funding. The P-21CSC will use the data to populate the www.21csc.org website.
Q18. Will there be an associated RFP with funding attached to the effort? What is the funding range and are there match requirements for the grant? When will the full proposal be due?
There are not currently any associated announcements at the federal government related directly to 21CSC, but there may be in the future. Funding ranges, match percentages and due dates have not been established.
Q19. If a state program or other umbrella organization, is awarded a membership, can that membership be passed down to grantees or affiliated partners?
It is not the intention of the Federal Register Notice to grant certification to funding organizations, membership organizations or intermediary organizations. Instead, the intention is for individual programs that meet the 21CSC Principles to self-identify and submit letters of intent on their own behalf for consideration by the National Council to be included in the 21CSC program.