Student’s Corner

What’s the deal with the American Climate Corps?

On September 20, the White House announced its new climate jobs training program called the American Climate Corps that it claims could provide 20,000 people jobs during its first year. Projects may involve land restoration, improving resilience to natural disasters on the coasts and in forests, furthering environmental justice initiatives, and creating clean energy infrastructure. 

The White House website says that Climate Corps members will be taught the necessary skills to access well-paying climate jobs after they complete their paid training or service program. They have a sign up form for people interested in joining the Corps, in addition to supporting it or hosting Corps members at a project site. Interested parties can also select what skills they are most interested in.

This announcement did not come out of nowhere – in fact during his first week in office Biden called on the government to create a “civilian climate corps” in an executive order. Environmental activist groups had discussed creating a climate corps in the past, such as the youth-led Sunrise Movement who are excited about this new development. Many have noted that this Climate Corps is similar to the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. However, that program was much bigger, employing millions of people during the Great Depression mainly to restore public lands and build national park infrastructure. 

The creation of the Climate Corps is certainly a step in the right direction as we will need tens of thousands of people working in the U.S. on the clean energy transition and mitigating the already challenging effects of climate change. 

Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash