July 21, 2024

Within weeks, the nation will deploy 9,000 people to begin restoring landscapes, erecting solar panels and taking other steps to help lead the country to a cleaner, greener future.

The first of those workers was inducted into the U.S. Climate Corps on Tuesday during a virtual White House event. Their swearing-in is another step forward for the Biden administration’s ambitious climate agenda. The program, which President Joe Biden announced within days of taking office in 2021, is a modern version of the Climate Conservation Corpsthe New Deal-era project that put 3 million men to work planting trees and building national parks.

During the ceremony, the first members of the corps pledged to “work on behalf of our nation and planet, its people and all its species for the better future we hold within our sights.”

The American Climate Corps was among the first things Biden announced as president, but it took a while to get funding and get off the ground. More than 20,000 young people are expected to join during the program’s first year, according to the White House, with new openings appearing on the American Climate Corps job site in the months ahead. The pay varies depending on the location and experience required, with open positions ranging from approximately $11 to $28 per hour.

The administration is promoting the corps as a way for young people to start green careers. In April, the White House announced a partnership with Trade Futuresa non-profit construction company, a sign that the program could help fill the country’s shortage of skilled workers which can help electrify everything. The White House will also members in so-called “energy communities” such as former coal mining towns to help with environmental remediation and other projects.

“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 promote a more sustainable tomorrow,” White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi said in a press release on Tuesday.

The launch of the American Climate Corps could appeal to the young voters who were crucial to Biden’s victory in the 2020 election over President Donald Trump and many of whom, according to polls, not sure they will vote for him again. This same demographic supports climate action, surveys show, with more than three-quarters of younger Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, say they want the United States to take action to address climate change.

The pledge the corps members swore to Tuesday was written by Barbara Kingsolver, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who explored the effects of climate change in her 2012 novel. Flight behavior. Kingsolver told Grist that the Climate Corps is “one of the most exciting things happening in the country right now.” She saw growing concern among younger generations who are inheriting a warmer world. “I’ve always thought that worry can be a paralyzer or an engine that puts you to work, and that if you put your worry to work, you’ll go further and feel better,” she said.

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