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The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (P-21CSC) Applauds Bipartisan Introduction of New 21CSC Act in United States House and Senate

MEDIA CONTACT
Hannah Traverse
Communications Manager 
The Corps Network
202-737-6272  |  htraverse@corpsnetwork.org

June 22, 2017

A merger of the previously-introduced Public Lands Service Corps Act and 21CSC Act, the bill would advance the 21CSC’s goal of engaging 100,000 young adults and veterans in Corps through addressing backlogged maintenance and other mission-critical projects on America’s public lands and waters.

WASHINTON, DC – The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (P-21CSC) – a collective of federal, state, local and non-profit stakeholders that support the growth and development of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) –  applauds bipartisan introduction of a new 21CSC Act in the United States House of Representatives (H.R.2987) and Senate (S.1403) on June 21, 2017. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Tom Udall (D-NM). It was introduced in the House by Reps. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ).

“In Arizona and across the country, young people are growing increasingly interested in service programs focused on bettering our national parks and public lands,” said Senator McCain. “However, while more people each year are applying for service opportunities, they are being turned away – even though our federal agencies need their help to complete a growing backlog of critical projects. Our legislation would solve this problem by creating more opportunities for young people and returning veterans to serve their community while spending no additional taxpayer dollars.”

“Arizona’s breathtaking scenic scopes are renown throughout the country and the world— but our state also has one of the largest backlogs in park maintenance projects,” said Congresswoman McSally (R-AZ). “This backlog is restricting access for Arizonans and tourists at our parks and public areas. This isn’t a problem that money alone can fix, we need to think innovatively and pragmatically to address this growing problem. My bipartisan bill leverages existing resources in a smarter way to get these projects moving. This would be a win for veterans, youth, local communities, and our national parks.”

The 21CSC is a national initiative to annually engage 100,000 young adults and veterans in outdoor work and national service opportunities – such as those offered through AmeriCorps – that address mission-critical maintenance and improvement projects on America’s public lands and waters. Currently, the more than 200 official 21CSC member organizations across the country annually enroll more than 25,000 participants in up to year-long terms of service, during which participants gain hands-on work experience, in-demand skills, and prepare for careers in the growing recreation, natural resource and restoration economies.

Through public-private partnerships among 21CSC programs, resource management agencies, and the private sector, the 21CSC builds rural and urban economies by engaging young adults and veterans in projects that increase access to public lands and enhance the natural resource infrastructure that supports our country’s $887 billion outdoor economy.

America’s main resource management agencies have a maintenance backlog totaling over $18.6 billion. By partnering with 21CSC programs, these agencies can further leverage their funding to cost-effectively engage Corps in building trails, fighting wildfires, maintaining productive fish and wildlife habitat and generally maintaining parks for public access. Along with completing projects, 21CSC also develops the next generation of outdoor stewards, recreationists, sportsmen and women, and resource managers. While gaining in-demand skills, Corpsmembers build respect and appreciation for our country, hard work, and the outdoors.

The 21CSC Act would allow federal land and water management agencies – like the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service –  to create formal, more flexible partnerships with 21CSC member organizations. It would also enable additional federal agencies to more easily partner with 21CSC organizations to accomplish their goals. Specifically, the 21CSC Act would:

  • Expand the number of federal agencies that can work with 21CSC programs. Enlisting Conservation Corps to do priority work has often proven to be more cost-effective for federal agencies.
  • Encourage federal agencies to collaborate, and require that they use only existing resources to work with 21CSC programs, meaning there would be no additional cost to tax-payers.
  • Establish coordinators at participating agencies to ensure the efficient functioning of the 21CSC.
  • Prioritize the engagement of recent veterans, native, and disadvantaged youth in 21CSC programs, and establish a new Indian Youth Corps program.
  • Establish standards for data collection and measuring the effectiveness of 21CSC programs.
  • Provide two years of non-competitive hiring eligibility with federal agencies for young people and veterans who gain valuable skills through service in 21CSC programs.
  • Provide new Internship and Resource Assistant opportunities for Corpsmembers, along with direct hiring authority.

The 21CSC Act was originally introduced in the Senate in August 2015 (S.1993) by Senators McCain and Bennet, and in the House in April 2016 (H.R.5114) by Representatives McSally and Moulton. The Public Lands Service Corps Act (PLSCA) – a similar bill – was most recently introduced in the House in April 2015 (H.R.2167) by Rep. Grijalva and in the Senate (S. 1160) by Sen. Udall. Rep. Grijlava has been a long-standing champion of Corps and the PLSCA. The legislation introduced yesterday is a combination of previously introduced versions of the 21CSC and PLSC Acts. It represents a bipartisan effort among sponsors and cosponsors of both bills to work together for the advancement of Corps as a public-private strategy to meet the needs of America’s resource management agencies and provide work opportunities for young adults and veterans.

“The Partnership for the 21CSC is deeply grateful to Senators McCain, Bennet, and Udall, and Representatives McSally, Moulton and Grijalva, and all of the cosponsors of this legislation for collaborating to promote the vision of the 21CSC,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network and Chair of the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. “As this legislation merges two bills, we want to especially thank Rep. Grijalva for his longstanding support of Corps through promotion of the PLSC Act. The 21CSC is a win-win: our public lands agencies can address the maintenance backlog and meet their missions through cost-effective public-private partnerships; and young adults and returning veterans gain valuable, in-demand skills for the growing outdoor economy through work and national service opportunities. We look forward to working with the congressional offices involved to help see the 21CSC Act passed.”

The 21CSC initiative was launched as a partnership between America’s Corps and a number of federal agencies to promote the idea of a 21st-Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) to provide job training and to maintain and preserve public lands. The 21CSC is supported by the past five Secretaries of Interior (two republicans and three Democrats) and has received investments from private businesses like American Eagle Outfitters, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the REI Foundation, The North Face, the Campion Foundation, Camelbak, the Youth Outdoor Legacy fund, KEEN Utility and others. Current Secretary of Interior Zinke was a co-sponsor of the 21CSC Act when he was in Congress.

 

About the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps
The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) is a bipartisan, national initiative to leverage public-private relationships for cost-effective maintenance and improvement of America’s infrastructure, lands and waters. The 21CSC envisions partnerships between resource management agencies and Corps: organizations that engage America’s young adults and veterans in work-based national service projects that restore, conserve and enhance infrastructure and public lands and waters.

The 21CSC is an easy-to-implement solution to America’s aging infrastructure that also develops the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, recreationists, sportsmen and women, and resource managers. While gaining in-demand skills through their service, Corps participants also build respect and appreciation for our country, hard work, and the outdoors. To learn more about the 21CSC, please visit www.21csc.org.

 

About The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (P-21CSC)
The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (P-21CSC) supports the development and implementation of the 21CSC to reach its goal of engaging 100,000 young people and veterans per year in conservation service. The Partnership’s members include key federal, state, local and non-profit leaders and stakeholders of the 21CSC. To learn more about the P-21CSC, please visit 21csc.org/about-partnership/.

Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Applauds Introduction of 21CSC Act in U.S. House of Representatives

Legislation will help advance the 21CSC’s goal of engaging 100,000 youth and veterans in protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s public lands and waters.

WASHINGTON, DC (APRIL 29, 2016) –The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (P-21CSC), the coalition responsible for supporting the development and implementation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) initiative, applauds bipartisan introduction of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act (H.R.5114) in the United States House of Representatives on Thursday, April 28th by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). They were joined by original co-sponsors Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA).

The 21CSC is a bold national initiative to annually engage 100,000 youth and veterans in service on America’s public lands by 2018. The 192 official 21CSC member organizations currently engage tens of thousands of young people every year in completing quality, cost-effective maintenance and improvement projects in city parks and on public and tribal lands and waters across the country. The programs of the 21CSC help address the backlogged maintenance needs of land and water management agencies; enhance outdoor recreation opportunities; improve the accessibility of public lands; and respond to wildfires and other natural disasters.

The 21CSC Act was introduced in the United States Senate (S.1993) in August 2015 by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). If signed into law, the 21CSC Act would allow federal land and water management agencies – like the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service –  to meet their missions in a cost-efficient manner through formal, more effective partnerships with 21CSC member organizations. It would also enable additional federal agencies to more easily partner with 21CSC organizations to accomplish their goals. The 21CSC Act would:

  • Expand the number of federal agencies that can work with 21CSC programs. Enlisting Conservation Corps to do priority work has often proven to be more cost-effective for federal agencies.
  • Encourage federal agencies to collaborate, and require that they use only existing resources to work with 21CSC programs, meaning there would be no additional cost to tax-payers.
  • Prioritize the engagement of recent veterans and disadvantaged youth in 21CSC programs.
  • Establish standards for data collection and measuring the effectiveness of 21CSC programs.
  • Provide two years of non-competitive hiring eligibility with federal agencies for young people and veterans who gain valuable skills through service in 21CSC programs.

“In Arizona, natural beauty is all around us,” said Congresswoman McSally (R-AZ). “The problem is that a backlog of needed restoration projects on our public lands is restricting access for Arizonans and tourists at our parks and public areas. Additional resources provided to reduce this backlog have failed to make a dent in it, which is why we need better solutions. My bill leverages existing resources in a smarter way to get these projects moving and ensure the public can once again fully enjoy our national parks. I thank Congressman Moulton for working with me on this legislation and look forward to working together to move it forward.”

“Enjoying the outdoors and our great national parks is a quintessentially American experience, but it’s one that more and more Americans are losing out on because of the mounting backlog of National Parks Service projects,” said Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), a co-lead of the legislation. “We need innovative solutions and the 21CSC is just that — it codifies public-private partnerships between conservation groups and our park services, while affording young people and veterans meaningful work experience. This bipartisan bill effectively joins service with stewardship, and in doing so, it will make our country a better place. I was proud to work with Congresswoman McSally on this effort to protect 21CSC and promote conservation and national service opportunities at the same time.”

“We are extremely grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Representatives McSally and Moulton on the 21CSC Act in the House,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “The 21CSC is a win-win: Corps train the next generation of leaders by putting young people and veterans to work helping land and water managers care for America’s natural resources. The 21CSC Act will help land and water managers achieve more with limited budgets and ensure that more young people have the opportunity to serve our country and veterans can find a pathway to careers through a continuation of their service.”

“The 21CSC Act will make it easier for thousands of young people and returning veterans to complete mission critical conservation projects protecting, restoring and enhancing our country’s treasured public lands,” said Harry Bruell, CEO and President of Conservation Legacy and Co-Chair of the P-21CSC. “Every year, thousands of young people serve in Conservation Corps building and maintaining trails, protecting communities from wildfire, and conserving public places; the 21CSC Act will expand this valuable work. We greatly appreciate the leadership of the members of Congress who have supported this legislation.”

The 21CSC is built on a partnership among conservation programs, land management agencies and the private sector. It was launched as part of President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative (2010) to “develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda.” Through listening sessions, formal recommendations and online voting, the first America’s Great Outdoors Report (2011) included a recommendation to catalyze the establishment of a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In 2013, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that DOI would work to expand the initiative through partnerships with the private sector. Since then, the 21CSC has received investments from American Eagle Outfitters, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the REI Foundation, The North Face, Thule, the Campion Foundation, Camelbak, the Youth Outdoor Legacy fund, KEEN Utility and others.

 

About The Corps Network
The Corps Network provides leadership and support to over 130 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps. Through advocacy, access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables over 24,000 Corpsmembers, ages 16-25, to strengthen communities, improve the environment and transform their lives through service. To learn more about The Corps Network, please visit www.corpsnetwork.org.

About Conservation Legacy
Conservation Legacy is a national organization dedicated to cultivating local action to produce enduring widespread impact in communities, ecosystems and people. Conservation Legacy is a purposeful and strategic organization that operates a national cadre of corps and service programs that: engage young Americans in service; conserve, protect and promote each community’s greatest gifts; and build America’s future. Learn more about Conservation Legacy at www.conservationlegacy.org.

About the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps
The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) supports the development and implementation of the 21CSC to reach its goal of engaging 100,000 young people and veterans per year in conservation service. The Partnership’s members include key federal, state, local and non-profit leaders and stakeholders of the 21CSC.

The Partnership for the 21CSC’s charter calls for it to develop “national partnerships to support 21CSC.”  These partnerships with national non-profit and for-profit organizations support the development and implementation of the 21CSC to reach its goal of engaging 100,000 young people and veterans per year in conservation service.

Media Contact
Hannah Traverse
Communications Manager
The Corps Network
htraverse@corpsnetwork.org
(202) 737 – 6272