Biden admin swears in first members of American Climate Corps

Source: By Nicole Norman, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2024

The program wants to hire 20,000 people in its first year to work on conservation and green energy-related jobs.

White House

The White House. Joshua Roberts/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration Tuesday swore in the first members of the American Climate Corps, which expects to place 9,000 young people into green energy and conservation jobs by the end of the month.

The administration ultimately wants to hire 20,000 people for the program’s first year.

“I want these young people to realize that this is our moment in history,” Maggie Thomas, a special assistant for climate to President Joe Biden, told NBC News. “This is our ability to tackle the climate crisis and for this generation to have agency in their future.”

The virtual ceremonies that began Tuesday will swear in hundreds of participants as they embark on their assignments, according to a White House official.

While Biden created the American Climate Corps in September, the idea of a climate-related service organization has long been on the wish list of congressional Democrats. But they have been unable to secure funding, so Biden created the program through executive action, directing agencies to cooperate with their existing jobs programs.

Republicans have derided the initiative, earlier this year blasting Biden’s fiscal 2025 budget request for $8 billion for the Climate Corps.

The program calls back to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, which hired millions of young men to work in forests and parks.

Applications opened in April, with jobs spread across the country in different state and federal initiatives. Members will fill positions at federal agencies like the Interior Department and NOAA, as well as take part in state climate corps programs in places like California and Colorado.

The temporary positions range from a few months to about a year. They pay about $11 up to $28 an hour varying by location, according to advertisements on the Climate Corps website.

“Whether it’s managing forests in the Pacific Northwest, deploying clean energy across the Southwest, or promoting sustainable farming practices throughout the Heartland, the President’s American Climate Corps is providing thousands of young Americans with the skills and experience to advance a more sustainable, just tomorrow,” said Ali Zaidi, Biden’s national climate adviser.