SCA is making sure that even amid all the political and economic turmoil, Congress doesn’t forget about our country’s natural and cultural resources. SCA President Dale Penny testified on Capitol Hill in support of a bill that would help the federal government address rising youth unemployment by expanding national service and the restoration of our public lands.
SCA DC-based intern Sade Demery attended the hearing and was impressed by the passion and concern of Penny's testimony. "This bill is very important to the SCA and Conservation Community because it allows them to continue to foster stewardship, protect, and preserve our natural wonderlands," Demery said.
Penny’s testimony last month was on behalf of the Public Lands Service Corp Act of 2011 (H.R. 587), which, if passed, would increase the government’s capacity to provide hands-on job training opportunities on public lands and promote the value of stewardship and service.
“SCA provides participants with hands-on service opportunities in virtually every conservation and natural resource field imaginable. SCA members have provided wildfire education and outreach education to ranches, rendered conservation education to farmers, built and repaired hiking trails, and much more. Last year, SCA placed over 4,200 high school, college students, and graduate students on over 500 public land sites across the country,” Penny said in his statement to Congress.
Penny's testimony noted the current unemployment rates of 19% for 16 to 24 year olds and 21.9% for veterans ages 18-24. Alongside these statistics Penny highlighted the SCA survey revealing that 55 % of SCA program participants go on to conservation-related careers and activities. In addition to this, Penny cited the National Park Service (NPS) finding that roughly 12% of the current NPS workforce began their careers with SCA.
One of the things that most stood out to Demery during the testimony was Penny's great detail about the unemployment rate today and how this bill could create future employment opportunities for our youth. "If this bill is passed, this will afford greater career opportunities and training for youth," Demery said.
All these factors, Penny explained, stress the importance of the legislation, which, if passed, “will allow the country to create jobs, provide necessary career training for youth and returning veterans…and help SCA continue its work of ‘building the next generation of conservation leaders.’”
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