Washington, DC (Vocus/PRWEB) February 23, 2011
The Public Lands Service Coalition, an alliance of advocates for America's youth and public lands, is calling on federal officials to rapidly enact the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) proposed in the Obama Administration's recently released America's Great Outdoors report.
The 21CSC would annually employ tens of thousands of young people, including low-income and disadvantaged youth, providing them with jobs, valuable job skills, career training and professional experience as they accomplish important conservation work on public lands. Rather than a new federal program, the 21CSC is operated by partner organizations, leveraging private resources in a public-private partnership.
"With an unemployment rate at a record high of over 25%* - nearly triple that of the nation at large - no group suffers more under the crushing weight of joblessness than America's youth," states coalition spokesperson Destry Jarvis. "A 21st Century Conservation Service Corps will provide our young people with jobs today while paving a path to productive careers that will lift America's economy for decades to come."
"Our leaders of tomorrow are ready to step up and do what is right, and we call on our nation's present leaders to join them and enact the 21CSC."
Coalition officials note an umbrella federal conservation service corps that is operated through partnerships with existing Conservation Corps/SCA programs would be better able to leverage the abundant private resources available. Further, Conservation Corps/SCA partners are among the most effective and least expensive job creation programs in the Country; Investing in Corps/SCA provides 2.5 times more FTE jobs than similar investments in construction fields**. Jarvis notes the benefits of developing a new generation of outdoor employees will extend well beyond government agencies.
"More than half the personnel at the National Park Service, US Forest Service and other bureaus will reach retirement age in the next five years, but the same phenomenon will occur in recreation, tourism, and other outdoor fields," Jarvis says. "By acting now to support a more diverse and contemporary workforce, Washington can not only meet its own labor needs, it can spur job growth in all sectors of the $730B outdoor economy. And in doing so, it will ensure that the great outdoors is once again relevant to young people from every corner of our society."
The Public Lands Service Coalition is an alliance of two dozen national, regional and local nonprofit organizations, dedicated to promoting youth service jobs and career development on public lands. The Coalition was founded by the Student Conservation Association, The Corps Network, and the Southwest Conservation Corps; member organizations represent 17,000 thousand young people engaged in public lands service each year. The Public Lands Service Coalition consists of:
California Association of Local Conservation Corps
California Conservation Corps
Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia
Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy, Inc.
Coconino Rural Environment Corps
Colorado Youth Corps Association
Greater Miami Service Corps
Montana Conservation Corps
National Congress of American Indians
National Parks Conservation Association
National Wildlife Federation
Nevada Conservation Corps
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (CO)
Sequoia Community Corps
Southwest Conservation Corps
Student Conservation Association
The Corps Network
The Wilderness Society
Utah Conservation Corps
Veterans Green Jobs
Washington Conservation Corps
Kevin Hamilton, SCA
Mary Ellen Ardouny
The Corps Network
**An investment of $100,000 in a Corps/SCA creates 2.5 FTE jobs compared to an investment of $100,000 in construction creating just 1 FTE construction job.