Rep. Judy Chu Introduces Legislation to Create a National Climate Service Corps
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced the National Climate Service Corps and Careers Network Act of 2021 to create a National Climate Service Corps within AmeriCorps. The corps would allow Americans to serve their communities through public service projects focused on community adaptation, mitigation, and resiliency. Participants will earn a living wage of no less than $15 per hour, and Environmental Justice Taskforces will ensure that project prioritization and program recruitment reflect local needs. The bill would also create a Climate Careers Network to help connect corps alumni and other interested Americans to long-term, good-paying career opportunities in the green economy. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. This legislation is supported by The Corps Network, Environmental Defense Fund, Defend our Future, and Evergreen Action.
“Our country faces unprecedented challenges from climate change,” said Rep. Chu (CA-27). “For far too long, we have not given the climate crisis the attention and resources needed to mitigate the worst effects. And that is having serious consequences for us as, today, California is facing an historic drought and preparing for another devastating fire season. That is why I am introducing legislation to create a National Climate Service Corps to help climate-vulnerable communities adapt to, mitigate, and overcome the worst climate-related crises. Further, this bill will create a Climate Careers Network to connect corps alumni to good-paying career opportunities in the new green economy.
“During the height of the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps mobilized millions of young people to build infrastructure that we still use now. In the face of our current climate crisis, our National Climate Service Corps can do the same today.”
“President Biden laid out a bold vision for a $10 billion investment in a civilian climate corps initiative as part of the American Jobs Plan proposal,” said Rep. Panetta. “Our legislation builds on this vision through the establishment of a National Climate Service Corps and a Climate Careers Network, both of which will support resiliency projects in communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and severe weather events. These programs will not only help Americans return to work in our growing green industries but also help ensure our communities are better prepared to respond to and help mitigate the climate crisis.”
“A climate service corps will help protect Nevada’s environment, combat climate change, and jumpstart the careers of young Nevadans looking to give back to their communities and gain experience for the green jobs of the future,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “We must ensure the next generation has the tools, experience, and support they need to lead the charge in protecting our Nevada families, combatting climate change, and preserving our public land.”
“National service programs address challenges ranging from food insecurity, to illiteracy, to the backlog of maintenance needs on our public lands. With this bill, we see a path to engage more national service programs in addressing the very real challenges of climate change and environmental injustice. It will also ensure that participants are on a pathway to successful careers,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “We thank Rep. Chu for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with her and our partners at AmeriCorps to make climate resiliency projects a greater priority for Conservation Corps and other national service programs.”
“Fighting climate change, building resilience in our communities and creating jobs are all essential to America’s future,” said Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President for Political Affairs of the Environmental Defense Fund. “This bill will help advance real, practical solutions to climate impacts in communities around the country. Critically, it will bring resources to underserved, frontline communities that already face the worst impacts of climate change.”
"As record-breaking heat waves bear down across the American West, it's never been more clear that we need to invest in tackling the climate crisis and building a clean energy economy that works for all communities,” said Jamal Raad, Executive Director of Evergreen Action. “Congresswoman Chu's vision for a National Climate Service Corps is exactly the kind of catalyst we need—training a 21st century workforce to prepare our communities for climate impacts, all while giving these workers a pathway to stable, good-paying careers in the clean economy."