President Biden is planning to sign an executive order Wednesday to establish a federal workforce training and service initiative as part of his administration’s efforts to fight climate change.
Biden’s so-called American Climate Corps will, according to the White House, mobilize “a new, diverse generation” of more than 20,000 Americans who will be trained and put to work on conservation, clean energy and environmental justice projects. The ultimate goal of the program is to pave the way for members of the corps to find jobs in the public and private sector.
“The American Climate Corps is a new initiative that will… work on a wide range of projects that tackle climate change – including restoring coastal wetlands to protect communities from storm surges and flooding, deploying clean energy, managing forests to improve health and prevent catastrophic wildfires, implementing energy efficient solutions to cut energy bills for hardworking families, and more,” the White House said.
“All American Climate Corps programs will be paid experiences that adhere to a common set of programmatic standards, and provide pathways to high-quality employment opportunities in the public and private sectors,” it continued.
The White House added that no prior experience is required for climate corps applicants.
In addition, the White House announced that, in conjunction with the federal effort, five states – Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, North Carolina and Maryland – are moving forward with their own climate corps.
Those state groups will work with the American Climate Corps as “implementing collaborators to ensure young people across the country are serving their communities, while participating in paid opportunities and working on projects to tackle climate change.”
“Today’s historic action to put an American Climate Corps into motion is a clear demonstration that the Biden administration knows there are more ways they can leverage executive power to lead an all out mobilization of our government and society to stop the climate crisis,” said Sunrise Movement Executive Director Varshini Prakash, who joined the White House on a press call for the announcement.
“Young people everywhere should feel empowered by this victory and continue demanding the change we need,” Prakash continued. “We’re often asked how President Biden can win the support and enthusiasm of young people. He’s gotten our attention. Keep going.”
The announcement Wednesday comes days after the Sunrise Movement led a coalition letter of more than 50 environmental activist groups calling on Biden to establish a climate corps.
And it also comes shortly after Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., penned a letter alongside dozens of fellow Democratic lawmakers to the president, similarly calling for the immediate establishment of a climate corps. The pair also reintroduced their Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act.
“As members of Congress who have led on various legislative proposals for Civilian Climate and Conservation Corps, we support your administration in taking executive action and will continue to fight for additional resources from Congress,” they wrote.