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White House: American Climate Corps jobs will ‘reach every community’

A new federal work program aims to train 20,000 young Americans in technical skills for the climate tech marketplace.

President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One.

Image via Shutterstock/Chirag Nagpal

This article has been updated and was originally published on Sept. 27, 2023.

In September, the White House announced the launch of the American Climate Corps, an initiative to train 20,000 young workers in skills for low-carbon energy and climate resilient jobs. By the end of the year-long program, participants would receive access to a streamlined path into both the private sector and civil service.

"This is going to help us and help the nation build the workforce that we need to tackle the climate crisis, and do it in a way that prioritizes environmental justice across the country," Maggie Thomas, special assistant for climate to President Joe Biden, told GreenBiz. "A big part of this program is the skills-based training… as well as the federal government that’s waiting there on the other end of that pathway to accept all of these young people into good paying careers."

As for the expected timeline for the program's rollout, a recruitment hub will likely launch in December, Thomas said. "Over the coming weeks and months, you’ll hear more from us on engagement opportunities as we work to build this program and this new initiative."

There are no educational requirements for prospective applicants, she added. 

You will have employees who will be a part of the first and historic class of the American Climate Corps.

So far, 42,000 have applied for the program since its launch, according to Mashable.

"We are already seeing more demand for the program than there likely (are) slots," Thomas said. "People are really, really excited."

The liftoff of this federal work program, modeled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 300,000-worker-strong Civilian Climate Corps, completes one of Biden’s long-term goals. In his first week in office, the president signed an executive order calling for the development of a job-training program that could "mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs." 

Several states — including California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan and Washington — have already instituted similar programs. 

And last summer, a version of the climate corps was included and then removed from the Inflation Reduction Act during private negotiations between the president and Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Chuck Schumer of New York.

If a business, nonprofit or government body wants to host a participant of the American Climate Corps, Thomas advises a visit to whitehouse.gov/climatecorps. "That is a place you can go on whether you are someone who wants to join as an individual or you’re an organization or a business that wants to be a partner." 

As of now no financial incentives — in the form of tax write-offs or government provided stipends — are planned for partnering businesses in the American Climate Corps. 

"The incentive is that you will have employees who will be a part of the first and historic class of the American Climate Corps," Thomas said. "These are young people that are both changing the face of our nation and changing the trajectory of our nation in terms of our ability to be prepared for the impacts of climate change and tackle the climate crisis."

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