September 21, 2023
CivicWell applauds the announcement from the Biden-Harris Administration on the creation of the American Climate Corps. For the past several years, CivicWell has joined Service Year Alliance and over 100 cross-sector organizations in the Partnership for the Civilian Climate Corps which has advocated for a national service corps dedicated to addressing climate and environmental resilience challenges.
According to the White House Fact Sheet released yesterday,
“The American Climate Corps will mobilize a new, diverse generation of more than 20,000 Americans – putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice, all while creating pathways to high-quality, good-paying clean energy and climate resilience jobs in the public and private sectors after they complete their paid training program.”
Five states across the country, including California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Washington, have already launched successful climate corps programs. They will now be joined by five new states – Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Maryland – that are launching their own Climate Corps as implementing collaborators of the American Climate Corps.
This announcement brings the total to ten states that have launched Climate Corps since 2021. The state-level Climate Corps are supported through a public-private partnership between philanthropy and AmeriCorps.
Governor Gavin Newsom lauded the announcement:
“We can’t go it alone in tackling the climate crisis. With these five states launching their own climate corps, we’re making climate action a reality in communities representing millions of Americans. Together, we’re mobilizing and organizing citizen climate action at a scale never seen before — and now we’ll begin to see its impact across the nation.”
CivicSpark, CivicWell’s AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for public agencies to address emerging environmental and social equity resilience challenges, is looking forward to the expansion of national climate service. Since 2014, nearly 1,000 CivicSpark Fellows have served over 1,000,000 hours to help over 300 communities in California, Washington, and Colorado accelerate their climate response.
Earlier this year, CivicWell received a National Planning Grant from AmeriCorps to explore expansion of our program to the Southeastern United States, and we are currently engaged in outreach activities in that region in hopes of launching CivicSpark in additional states in the fall of 2024.
CivicSpark Program Director Bill Sadler sees the American Climate Corps as naturally complementary and notes the importance of building on the foundation of existing AmeriCorps programs and state service commissions who are well-positioned to support the national program:
“As the initiative moves forward, I hope CivicSpark can participate and leverage the relationships and strides that our successful, evidence-based program has made in building capacity for climate resilience. Our current and proposed future operating sites have strong overlap with existing and planned Climate Corps states. Together we can build a strong network of climate-focused national service programs that can work together in providing support to the communities most in need across the United States.”
More information on the American Climate Corps can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/climatecorps.
CivicSpark currently operates throughout California, Colorado, and Washington state. Organizations and agencies interested in bringing a CivicSpark Fellow to their communities can learn more on the CivicSpark website. For emerging leaders interested in applying to the Fellowship, more information can be found here.