Last Updated: March 16, 2012
House bill H.R. 587 (Grijalva) and Senate bill S. 896 (Bingaman)
Combining Workforce development, job creation, and national service on public lands for a 21st century America.
Jobs and Training for a New Generation of Public Land Managers
The Public lands Service Corps Act expands the authority of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior to provide service and learning opportunities on public lands for young Americans between the ages of 15 and 25.
Service Corps Members will help restore the nation’s natural, cultural, historic, archeological, recreational, and scenic resources, while learning about the value of national service, while training the next generation public lands stewards and managers. Corps members will tackle backlog maintenance projects including campsite and trail rehabilitation, cultural and historic resource preservation projects, and augment of services to park visitors.
The Public Lands Service Corps Act
- Introduces young men and women to public service via employment in national parks and public lands, while helping federal land management agencies reduce burgeoning maintenance backlogs in an efficient and cost-effective way.
- Facilitates training and employment opportunities that qualify as experience for careers in public service.
- Partners youth participants directly with experienced adult land managers and mentors from federal agency volunteer programs, as well as veterans, retirees, and active duty personnel.
- Rewards individuals who participate in the program with an increased ability to pursue higher education and job training.
Linking Job Creation to National Service Creates a Win-Win Situation for America
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of July 2009 the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 16 and 24 was 18.5 percent, the highest rate ever recorded since the government began tracking such statistics in 1948. Youth from low-income or disadvantaged households and communities have been especially hard hit.
The Public Lands Service Corps Act would provide participants with a minimal stipend and create the opportunity for them to work full time positions with conservation and preservation professionals and mentors. Service details of up to two years would allow Corps members to receive comprehensive training in jobs ranging from invasive species eradication to fire-fighting to preservation of historic documents. These skills and the confidence gained by completing a term of service will greatly enhance the future employability of Service Corps participants.
Participating Agencies Include:
The Department of Agriculture
- Forest Service
The Department of Commerce
- National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The Department of the Interior
- National Park Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- Fish & Wildlife
National Parks and Public Lands Have an Important Role to Play in Our Economic Recovery
Roughly 76 years ago, our national parks were at the heart of a national service effort designed to put Americans back to work by restoring and enhancing our public lands. Contemporary efforts to reinvigorate our economy and create jobs will be made more robust once national service is linked to workforce development and employment gains. Our national parks and public lands may be the shared touchstones of a common heritage, but they are also economic drivers that can help restore economic prosperity.
Princeton University economist Alan Blinder wrote in the November 6, 2009 Wall Street Journal, that “Direct public service is straightforward. As long as the new government jobs do not compete with the private sector, the net job creation should be one-for-one. So hire people to fix parks, not shopping malls.” The Public Lands Service Corps Act does exactly that.