21st Century Conservation Service Corps

21st Century Conservation Service Corps

The Mission of 21CSC

logoThe Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men as part of the New Deal. Originally for young men ages 18–23, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17–28. Since the days of the CCC, numerous organizations have developed programs that support young men and women in outdoor work to benefit public lands.  In January 2013,  a National Council of representatives from Federal agencies agreed through a memorandum of understanding to develop and support the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) in efforts to expand these programs to reach more youth and veterans that want outdoors work and training on conservation and related projects.

National Council membership includes leadership from the Departments of the Army, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The National Council agreed to work to:

  • support program expansion, including by matching natural resource management needs with 21CSC opportunities and identifying potential sources of funding and other resources
  • remove barriers and streamline processes for supporting 21CSC programs
  • support participant pathways to careers
  • facilitate technical assistance
  • develop and support partnerships
  • coordinate messaging and
  • ensure national representation.

Member Organizations

Last December, the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) National Council began looking for conservation corps, youth, and veteran programs that would like to be identified as a 21CSC member organizations.  Those that meet established criteria will become beneficiaries of these Federal efforts.  To date the following national organizations have been accepted as members of 21CSC:

In addition there are 168 multi-state, state and local programs that have been accepted to membership. If you have an organization that would like to get involved,  applications are still being accepted.  Review the Federal Register Notice for all the details.


Individuals aged 16 to 24 and veterans to age 34 can participate in 21st Century Conservation Service Corps by signing up for programs with the member organizations discussed above.  Each organization has one or more programs and they all differ in their requirements and the opportunities they offer.  Overall, however,  they have the goal of putting young Americans and Veterans to work outdoors while preserving America’a public lands and waters, neighborhoods, communities and national treasures.  At the same time they offer training, skills, education, and employment opportunities that will allow participants to pursue a wide range of careers and life opportunities.  See the 21CSC website for examples of the work that is already underway.

Projects include significant outdoor activity and involve “hands-on” direct impact while helping young people connect with America’s Great Outdoors. Some programs may include work that is primarily indoors—for example, science, policy or program internships—that have a clear benefit to natural, cultural or historic resources.  Service is compensated (not volunteer). Compensation can be in the form of wages, stipend, educational credit, or other appropriate form.

If you are looking for outdoor work, the way to find it is to go to the 21CSC member list, select the state you want to work in then study the websites listed there.  In many cases the website won’t mention 21st Century Conservation Service Corps and you will need to contact the organization directly to ask about opportunities.  Don’t stop with one organization, unless you get a job offer.  Instead,  contact several to increase your chances of getting a position.  Be aware that this work is not permanent and typically not year-around.  Be sure to understand what you are being offered by various organizations, so that you can get the experience and learn the skills you want and need.

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