Funding will support next generation of conservation and climate stewards
Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
NEW YORK – During Climate Week 2023, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today announced a $15 million commitment through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to the Indian Youth Service Corps (IYSC) and other programs supporting the next generation of conservation and climate stewards.
The IYSC, announced by Secretary Haaland last year, is a partner-based program designed to provide Indigenous youth with meaningful, Tribally led public service opportunities to support the conservation and protection of natural and cultural resources through construction, restoration or rehabilitation of natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational or scenic resources.
Secretary Haaland made the announcement during remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative 2023 annual meeting and challenged those in the room to match or surpass this commitment with the goal of doubling the funding for youth programs though public-private partnerships to expand opportunities and job skills training for Indigenous youth in more communities across America. This effort will be facilitated in collaboration with the Office of Strategic Partnerships, which was launched during the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit to assist with building partnerships, leveraging resources, and promoting innovative solutions for Indian Country.
“Through the Indian Youth Service Corps, the Biden-Harris administration is providing meaningful education, employment and training opportunities to Indigenous youth through conservation projects on public and Tribal lands,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Public-private partnerships are needed to leverage historic federal investments and are essential in this work – not just to address the challenges the climate crisis presents, but for empowering our up-and-coming generations of climate stewards. Together, we can empower the Corps to help more young people strengthen their connection to the lands and waters that their ancestors have cared for since time immemorial.”
With funding from the Inflation Reduction Act — the largest climate investment in history — the Interior Department will expand the capacity of the Corps and similar projects serving underserved communities by 30 percent, reaching over 5,000 young people. The expanded programs will work with federally recognized Tribes and Tribal organizations as well as programs serving the U.S. territories, the Native Hawaiian Community, and urban communities across the United States.
The Secretary’s announcement comes a week after the Department announced the award of its first IYSC grants to eight projects involving more than 20 Tribes and Tribal organizations. The first grants awards are designed to help develop Tribal capacity in conservation, natural resource management, and climate resilience. They also provide Tribes and Tribal organizations with funding to enable them to invest in, train, and recruit a new generation of skilled Indigenous workers.
Youth programs like the IYSC support the Department’s restoration and resilience framework, which is guiding $2 billion in investments from the President’s Investing in America agenda to restore lands and waters and advance climate resilience.