Overwhelmed by America’s natural beauty, President Theodore Roosevelt once declared, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”
The appreciation for America’s great outdoors combined with a sense of stewardship is alive and well in the U.S. government, most recently in the creation of a council to help build and promote the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), which will provide valuable training and work opportunities for youth and veterans.
Expanding job opportunities for young people and veterans is one of the Labor Department’s top priorities, and I’m delighted to join my federal colleagues in establishing the National Council for the 21CSC — implementing the first recommendation of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.
America’s natural legacy is no more impressive than its legacy as a land of opportunity. For centuries, the prospect of work has drawn people to this country, and those people have built one of the strongest workforces on the planet. By investing in training and job growth, we can ensure that America’s workforce stays strong for generations to come.
The 21CSC will build on the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose Civilian Conservation Corps helped rebuild America’s workforce and lead the nation out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. This new corps will provide service, training, education and employment opportunities for thousands of young Americans. By engaging in important conservation and restoration work on public lands, waterways and cultural heritage sites, American youth and returning veterans will receive hands-on training and work experience, while gaining a sense of public service and stewardship.
This is a great example of how innovative partnerships are using government resources more efficiently and effectively. The Labor Department is committed to working with our partners to provide young people – especially those from underserved communities – with exposure to a wide variety of in-demand jobs and valuable training opportunities that can form the foundation of lifelong careers.
The department will continue its work through the National Council for the 21CSC to ensure that 21CSC participation includes exposure to careers in conservation, preservation and resource management, as well as career pathways leading to long-term opportunities for permanent employment and continuing education.
This land is our land, and by investing in both our nation’s workforce and our natural heritage, we can prove that we are worthy of this incredible inheritance.
Hilda L. Solis is the Secretary of Labor.