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WASHINGTON, D.C.–The American Climate Corps will equip 20,000 young people with skills-based training for careers in clean energy and climate resilience, the White House announced on Wednesday.
The new initiative seeks to empower a new generation with the skills and support needed to help boost their community’s resilience to the climate crisis while earning a living wage.
Biden used his executive authority to bypass Congress, establishing a program similar to elements of the 1930s New Deal, when the federal government hired millions of people to build infrastructure and public works during the Great Depression.
From learning how to install solar panels to protecting communities from flooding to bolstering resilience in underserved communities, participants will be on the frontlines as record-level heat and major weather events continue to cripple communities.
The new initiative falls within Americorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism.
10 states have their own
John Podesta serves as Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation. The White House isn’t looking to recreate the wheel, he says. It simply wants to follow the lead of states who are already doing the work.
California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Washington already have launched successful programs. On Wednesday, the White House announced five more states had established local Climate Corps: Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Maryland.
“This is really focused and building on success in state-based programs in letting particularly young people participate in trying to make their communities more resilient,” Podesta told The Black Wall Street Times on Wednesday.
“As we go around the country, we hear from young people their desire to be part of the solution.”
Climate Corps trains a generation to ensure future generations survive and thrive
Specifically, every program in the new initiative will be paid experiences with opportunities for future employment in the private and public sector.
Some of the skills training include:
- Restoring coastal wetlands to protect communities from storm surges and flooding.
- Deploying clean energy in neighborhoods.
- Managing forests to improve health and prevent wildfires.
- Implementing energy efficient solutions to cut energy bills.
It goes beyond just giving people skills.
The American Climate Corps will also expose participants to apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships with federal agencies and community partners “to people that have often been denied those opportunities in the past,” Podesta said.
American Climate Corps “meets the moment”
In a sharply divided nation the White House will surely have critics of the new initiative. It was only eight years ago that former U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) brought a snowball into the Capitol in an attempt to disprove the science on the climate.
Many Republicans continue to downplay the fact that emissions of greenhouse gasses have warmed the planet to a dangerous level.
Meanwhile, progressives who support the Green New Deal may see the Climate Corps as not going far enough. The Green New Deal would’ve drastically moved the nation’s energy infrastructure to 100% clean energy by 2030 with net-zero emissions.
Presidential Senior Advisor John Podesta isn’t worried about the critics, though. He was quick to point to the passage of the Biden-Harris Administration’s inflation Reduction Act.
The law used a 15% tax on large corporations and stock buybacks to establish the world’s largest funding effort to combat the climate crisis.
Like the IRA, the American Climate Corps initiative “is one that I think is meeting the moment in trying more than any other administration, and I worked in a couple administrations, to really put the country on the path towards clean energy, reduction of emissions and a sustainable economy,” Podesta said.
To learn more about how to apply for the program, visit whitehouse.gov/climatecorps