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Biden-Harris Administration announces American Climate Corps listening sessions, new actions to mobilize the next generation of clean energy, conservation, and resilience workers

December 19, 2023

In September, President Biden announced the launch of the American Climate Corps, a groundbreaking, workforce training and service initiative that will prepare tens of thousands of young people for good-paying jobs in the clean economy. In the time since, nearly 50,000 Americans have expressed interest in joining the American Climate Corps. In launching this new initiative, President Biden fulfilled a key promise to mobilize a new, diverse generation of Americans – putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, advancing environmental justice, and more.

As the Biden-Harris Administration works toward establishing the first cohort of American Climate Corps members by summer 2024, the Administration is today announcing a series of key steps to further advance the initiative, including the launch of virtu al listening sessions. The administration is also announcing a new partnership across seven Federal agencies to guide implementation and new information on how communities can leverage historic funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to increase pathways for young people into environmental justice careers via the American Climate Corps.

While Republicans in Congress continue to deny the very existence of climate change, the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to deliver on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, including by ensuring that young people in every corner of the country gain the skills necessary to access good-paying jobs that will help tackle the climate crisis.

Launching Virtual Listening Sessions

Beginning in January, senior Biden-Harris Administration officials will convene a series of virtual listening sessions to hear directly from prospective American Climate Corps applicants and implementing partners, including conservation and service corps partners, labor unions, educational institutions, employer partners, and state, local, territorial and Tribal governments about their priorities for the American Climate Corps. Each listening session will last roughly 90 minutes and will provide participants with the opportunity to engage directly with Administration officials who are overseeing the initiative, as the Administration works to establish the first cohort of American Climate Corps members by next summer.

More information about the virtual listening sessions can be found here.

Creating Career Pathways that Advance Environmental Justice

In addition, EPA is leveraging historic funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to increase pathways for young people into environmental justice careers through the American Climate Corps. EPA’s $2 billion Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grant Program announced in November includes an option for community-based organizations to propose their own Climate Corps program for youth in disadvantaged communities to pursue careers in greenhouse gas and air pollution reduction, along with other strategies to take climate action, reduce pollution, and increase community resilience. This is just one example of how the President’s Investing in America agenda is furthering the goals of the American Climate Corps.

Establishing a New Federal Partnership Across Seven Agencies

Today, seven federal agencies – the Departments of Commerce, the Interior, Agriculture, Labor and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and AmeriCorps – are entering into a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will serve as a blueprint for the multiagency initiative. The MOU defines the core principles of the American Climate Corps – from compensating members to ensure the initiative is accessible to all, to expanding workforce pathways in and led by disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution, to serving all of America’s communities by improving climate resilience, public health, energy security, and by creating economic opportunity in our urban, rural, suburban, and wilderness remote areas.

Additionally, the MOU establishes an Executive Committee – comprised of the Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor, CEO of AmeriCorps, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Energy, and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – to provide leadership across the federal government for the American Climate Corps, as well as a Working Group to carry out and implement the initiative.

The Administration expects to formally launch the recruitment portal for prospective applicants in spring 2024, positioning the initiative to establish the first cohort of American Climate Corps members next summer.