Bill would help expand national service opportunities that engage young adults and post-9/11 veterans in maintaining and improving public lands and waters
The Corps Network
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[WASHINGTON, DC] – A version of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act, or 21CSC Act (S.1403), passed by voice vote October 2 in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources with bipartisan support. Originally introduced by the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the bill can now move forward for consideration by the full Senate.
“The 21st Century Conservation Corps will create a much-needed pathway to meaningful careers in conservation for America’s youth and veterans,” said Sen. Michael Bennet. “It was a privilege to work with Senator McCain on this legislation, which will honor his legacy of service by developing the next generation of leaders to protect and enhance our public lands.”
The Partnership for the 21CSC (P-21CSC) applauds movement on the 21CSC Act and extends appreciation to the original co-sponsors – Sens. Michael Bennet, Lamar Alexander and Tom Udall – as well as to Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell for their leadership in advancing the legislation. The P-21CSC also thanks the co-sponsors and supporters of S.1403: Sens. Roger Wicker, Steve Daines, Jon Tester, Angus King, Patty Murray, Mazie Hirono, and Martin Heinrich.
The P-21CSC urges the full Senate to pass the 21CSC Act in honor of Sen. McCain, a lifelong advocate of military, national, and public service. As the bill progresses, the P-21CSC encourages lawmakers to consider a Sense of Congress within the bill that honors the late Senator’s legacy and renames the bill appropriately. Additionally, the P-21CSC supports efforts to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the bill. We urge that the final bill include provisions from the original version that would expand national service and AmeriCorps opportunities for young adults and veterans, and enable Corps to better address unmet community and national needs. In June of this year, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed the full 21CSC Act (H.R.2987) with unanimous bipartisan support.
“On behalf of the Corps community, thank you Chairwoman Murkowski, Ranking Member Cantwell, and all the co-sponsors of the 21CSC Act. We look forward to seeing a version of the 21CSC Act signed into law that supports expanding national service opportunities that engage young adults and post-9/11 veterans in maintaining and improving public lands and waters,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “As the late Sen. John McCain wrote with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, ‘We are convinced that, if [national service] experiences are made available to young people, they will embrace them for what they are — occasions to elevate the nation while elevating themselves.’ It is our hope to see a strong 21CSC Act signed into law in honor of Sen. McCain’s commitment to expand opportunities for military, national, and public service.”
Corps are community-based programs that provide young adults and recent veterans the opportunity to serve our country, advance their education and obtain in-demand skills. Serving in crews or individual positions, Corpsmembers complete meaningful terms of service working on projects that address conservation and infrastructure concerns, wildfires and natural disasters, outdoor recreation access, and a range of other issues. During their service, Corps participants gain hands-on work experience and prepare for careers in the growing recreation, natural resource and restoration economies.