Biden launches ‘American Climate Corps’ program to create 20,000 jobs

Climate activists rally in front of the White House at Lafayette Square to demand that President Joe Biden declare a climate emergency and move the country rapidly away from fossil fuels, July 4, 2023, in Washington. After being thwarted by Congress, Biden will use his executive authority to create a New Deal-style American Climate Corps that will serve as a major green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Yuri Gripas, File)

By Isabel Soisson

September 20, 2023

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced an executive action to create the American Climate Corps program, which will aim to train 20,000 young people for jobs focused on fighting climate change.

According to the White House, the program is a federal effort “to ensure more young people have access to the skills-based training necessary for good-paying careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy.”

Those who enroll in the program will learn how to install solar panels, restore coastal wetlands, retrofit homes to be more energy-efficient, and more. In states like Nevada, they might even wind up fighting wildfires.

The program also intends to create a pipeline for these young people to get hired into the clean energy sector, which is expected to add millions of jobs by 2030, due in large part to Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which represented the largest-ever federal investment in fighting climate change. In Nevada, roughly 11,500 jobs have already been announced since the IRA became law.

The White House said that all participants in the Climate Corps program will be paid, although officials provided no information on specific salaries.

The announcement was met with praise from environmental groups.

“We are thrilled to see President Biden using his executive power to deliver on his commitment to establish the American Climate Corps, which will kick off with training tens of thousands of young people for high-quality jobs tackling the climate crisis,” Sara Chieffo, vice president of Government Affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement. “With this program, President Biden is once again proving that combating the climate crisis and creating good jobs go hand-in-hand.”

Several states—California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Washington—have also established their own versions of climate corps programs.

In announcing the American Climate Corps, the White House confirmed that an additional five states–Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Utah—will move forward with state-specific climate corps programs. They’ll be funded through public-private partnerships, including AmeriCorps, where states who already have programs get their funding.

Wednesday’s announcement comes just two days after 51 Democratic members of Congress signed a letter urging President Biden to file an executive order to revive the Civilian Climate Corps program, which he first proposed in 2021 as part of his Build Back Better bill. That legislation ultimately became the Inflation Reduction Act, but excluded the Climate Corps program. Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto also introduced legislation in 2021 to establish a national Climate Service Corps program.

Biden’s use of executive authority will revive the program, however, all funding for it will have to come from existing funding sources already approved by Congress.

Those who are interested in applying for the American Climate Corps can click here to learn more about the program.

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.



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