Skip to main content

USDA, Partners to Invest Over $11 Million in 21st Century Conservation Service

Corps to Hire 1,500 Youth and Veterans for Summer Forest Projects

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2016 — As National Get Outdoors Month begins, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Forest Service and partners have invested over $11 million to support work and training opportunities for more than 1,500 youth and veterans on national forests and grasslands in fiscal year 2016. The funds support the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), a public-private initiative to connect America's youth and veterans with job opportunities that conserve and sustain our natural and cultural resources.

"The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps experience transforms the lives of our veterans and youth, allowing them to connect to the great outdoors and become part of the next generation of natural and cultural resource conservationists," said Vilsack. "This public-private collaboration provides participants with new skills and inspires and connects them to the forests and communities in which they work."

Over the last two years, the Forest Service has engaged 20,000 youth and veterans through partnerships with 21CSC member organizations and other institutions. This year participants will focus on more than 120 priority projects across the country working on a range of issues from restoration, hazardous fuels management and watershed protection to trails and facilities maintenance while helping to develop the next generation of conservation stewards and the agency's workforce.

"The 21CSC program allows our youth and veterans to gain the personal and professional skills they need to build their conservation careers while protecting, restoring and enhancing some of the country's most treasured public lands," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "These partnerships and the people who make them work are building a bright future for conservation in America."

The Forest Service and partners make investments in 21CSC throughout the year. Today's announcement includes national and regional Forest Service investments of $6.5 million with additional partner investments of $3.7 million in funding. The National Forest Foundation has also leveraged an additional $1.5 million for 21CSC projects so far in 2016. Last month the Department of the Interior, USDA, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced $3.16 million in 21CSC funding to put young people to work on 60 additional projects.

Today's opportunities for hands-on service from Vermont and Georgia to Alaska and Hawaii include,

  • Alaska - The Tongass National Forest, the largest in the United States, will host a YCC crew to work on Admiralty Island, a national monument in Alaska's panhandle. Youth will restore trails and cabins, eradicate invasive species, and complete special service projects for the Island's native Angoon community.

These projects and more than 100 others across the country will provide participants with valuable life and work skills, while building lifelong connections to America's special places. Find out how to join a Corps this summer and other details on the website.

The 21CSC program includes 191 non-profit organizations; academic institutions; and local, state, federal and tribal governments. Organizations interested in participating as a 21CSC member organization can submit a letter of interest to

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands managed by the Forest Service contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.