American Climate Corps: What we know so far

A new federal work program is hoping to train 20,000 young Americans the technical skills needed in a climate tech marketplace.

By Leah Garden

September 27, 2023

President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One.

Last week, the White House announced the launch of the American Climate Corps, an initiative that will train 20,000 young workers in skills useful for low-carbon energy and climate resilient jobs. 

This type of federal work program has long been one of President Joe Biden’s long-term goals. In his first week in office, Biden signed an executive order calling for the development of a job-training program that could "mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs." Several states — including California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan and Washington — have already instituted a similar program. 

And last summer, a version of the climate corps was subsequently included and then removed from the Inflation Reduction Act during private negotiations between the president and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). 

Many details about the American Climate Corps are still unknown, including the budget, the timeline and how "Tribal, State and local governments, labor unions, nonprofit service allies, the private sector and philanthropy," will collaborate with the White House for this program. Here’s what we do know:

  • 20,000 people will participate and complete the program in the first year;
  • The program will provide compensation for all participants;
  • Program participants will receive access to a streamlined path into civil service;
  • National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi prioritizes getting workers into "good paying union jobs," but didn’t detail how.

For now, there is too little information available to definitively know how the American Climate Corps program will unfold. 

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Leah Garden

Climate Tech Reporter

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