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By J.B. Wogan June 18, 2012

Putting money into the "5-E" promise

In more ways than one, the Obama administration has tied youth service with energy efficiency, environmental education and employment (5-E) opportunities. Last time we visited this promise, we found that President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009, which funded existing programs with similar objectives to his proposed corps.

Still, we rated it In the Works because there wasn't a new and separate Youth Service Corps with an explicit "5-E" mission.

Now there is one, at least on paper.  

In April 2010, Obama announced the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, which included a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. The corps would teach environmental stewardship, civic responsibility and job skills in "natural and cultural resource management."

We also checked to see if the proposed corps would engage "disconnected and disadvantaged young people," as Obama had promised. The 21st Century program would target youths from cities and low-income backgrounds who typically cannot experience the outdoors, as well as young native americans, girls and young adult women.

The new youth corps is not up and running yet. A federal advisory committee is hashing out details, with recommendations due later this summer. A variety of existing federal youth service programs will employ about 12,000 people this summer, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The new corps would place these programs under one umbrella organization and expand it to 100,000 members each summer by 2017.

We also found, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior's youth initiative. The website already provides a job-search engine for paid and unpaid summer internships within the federal government. The website lists internship programs with federal agencies in fields related to energy efficiency and environmental service, such as the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service, among others.

Despite the new youth corps' small and late beginnings, the Obama administration has fulfilled its goal of funding some "5-E" service programs for disadvantaged and disconnected youths. Now federal agencies are in the process of creating a new corps. We rate this a Promise Kept, though we'll keep an eye out to see how it develops.

Our Sources

Email interview with Queen Muse, press assistant, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, June 15, 2012

U.S. Department of the Interior, America's Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations, Factsheet: Youth and the Outdoors, Feb. 7, 2011

21st Century Conservation Service Corps, Salazar, Vilsack Announce Important Step in Establishing 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, Dec. 7, 2011

U.S. Department of the Interior, 21 CSC Federal Advisory Committee, Framework Subcommittee presentation, March 27-29, 2012

Federal Register, Presidential Memorandum: 21st Century Strategy for America's Great Outdoors, April 16, 2010

U.S. Department of the Interior, 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, employment program: internships

Executive Office of the President, Council on Environmental Quality, Obama Administration to Hire 20,000 Young People for Summer Work on Public Lands, May 18, 2012

Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan December 30, 2009

Money for youth service and energy conservation

President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in April 2009. While that bill does not create a new "5-E" service corps, it does send more money to youth service, and expands formal service goals to include energy conservation and clean energy activities.

The bill reauthorizes the Corporation for National and Community Service and its programs through 2014. It also adds language that the corporation's purpose will focus national service on "education, energy conservation, and improving the health status of and economic opportunity for economically disadvantaged individuals."

Separately, the legislation also includes new authority for a "summer of service" program providing a $500 award (up to $750 for disadvantaged youth) for rising sixth- to 12th-graders who complete 100 hours in an approved position.

Congress fully funded Obama's appropriations request for the Corporation for National and Community Service by approving its budget on Dec. 16, 2009.

This is enough progress toward the goals of this promise for us to rate it In the Works.

Our Sources

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