Firefighter, Forester, Trail Builder: The First US Climate Corps Jobs Are Here

(Bloomberg) -- Restoring coastal ecosystems with oysters in Florida, protecting forests from wildfire in California and maintaining a cultural site (the Pearl Harbor National Memorial) in Hawaii: These are a few of the paid positions that job seekers can now apply for through the Biden administration’s American Climate Corps.

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The first batch of job listings under the program went live on Monday, timed to Earth Day. So far the website features 2,000 positions at organizations across 36 states and territories. It will be updated regularly with new openings, the White House said. The first class of participants will begin their work this summer.

Launched in September, the American Climate Corps seeks to recruit more than 20,000 young people and train them up in skills needed to tackle climate change, before funneling them into clean energy trades or federal service. President Joe Biden pledged to create such an initiative in an executive order soon after taking office in 2021.

Titles of open positions include Invasive Plant Manager, Botany Technician and Fisheries Intern. There’s an opportunity to help monitor white-bark pine forests for disease, pests and climate impacts in Nevada ($18 an hour), and another to build and maintain trails in New Hampshire’s White Mountains ($19 an hour). On the website, applicants can select from focus areas like reducing food waste or mitigating extreme heat. The earliest application deadline is April 26.

Designed after the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, the American Climate Corps realizes a long-held goal of progressive Democratic lawmakers including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey. But the current program falls short of the 1.5 million workers Ocasio-Cortez and Markey initially hoped the US would recruit.

Successful applicants will be connected with an apprenticeship curriculum, and some will become eligible for early career opportunities in the federal government. The program will give them “the opportunity to be trained in the foundational skills necessary for careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy” and offer a path “to good paying, union jobs,” the White House said in a statement.

The American Climate Corps is a collaboration among several federal agencies: AmeriCorps, the departments of Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Labor and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Republican lawmakers in Congress have attacked the program, which Biden has sought $8 billion to expand.

The Sunrise Movement and other environmental groups long pushed for the creation of a national climate corps. In a statement, Executive Director Aru Shiney-Ajay celebrated the job board’s launch but vowed to work toward the program’s expansion.

“The American Climate Corps will hire young people to better their communities and fight the climate crisis,” she said. “We are organizing to make sure Congress funds this program so it can meet the scale of the crises we face. We will win a program that’s big enough for all the young people wanting a job stopping the climate crisis.”

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