September 20, 2023 Leigh Martinez

Pennsylvania is Perfect for New American Climate Corps Program

Years of joint advocacy move major green infrastructure economic opportunities for young people forward

HARRISBURG, PA., September 20, 2023 —  After more than three years of advocating for a Climate Corps program, PennFuture and ReImagine Appalachia celebrate the Biden-Harris Administration’s launch of the American Climate Corps program that will bring modern clean energy and conservation job training to rural and urban environmental justice communities in Pennsylvania. 

By prioritizing communities traditionally left behind, such as Appalachian towns left with no Plan B when coal-fired plants close, the American Climate Corps offers young people a path to good-paying careers in the 21st-century clean energy and conservation economy that will help grow healthy and sustainable Pennsylvania communities. 

The American Climate Corps promises more than 20,000 young people will receive workforce training in clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience in the first year. Prior experience is not needed for these training positions that can transfer to union jobs in both the public and private sectors. 

This is a major win for Pennsylvania after years of government advocacy by PennFuture and the ReImagine Appalachia Coalition to reintroduce a modernized version of the Civilian Conservation Corps, established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, that restored America’s natural environment from Dust Bowl destruction and put 3 million men to work during the Great Depression. 

PennFuture and ReImagine Appalachia called for this program during a CCC Roundtable discussion with Senator Bob Casey in September 2021, at the Delaware Watershed Annual Conference in November 2022, and the Appalachian Folk Festival in Indiana County in September 2021, we included CCC in our July 2020 Green Stimulus report, as well as drafting several Op-Eds and Congressional letters, including one with former Governor Tom Wolf to the Pennsylvania congressional delegation on CCC. 

This is a significant first step to improving both environmental and economic outcomes for deeply impacted communities left behind by the fossil fuel industry. We hope to see the American Climate Corps program expanded for more Pennsylvanians to receive paid opportunities in the fields of clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience.