President Obama Signs Serve America Act to Expand National Service

The Serve America Act will expand AmeriCorps from 75,000 slots to more than 250,000 in five years. Among the special Corps programs to be launched through this legislation is the Clean Energy Service Corps.

 

trail note

Read more about Reauthorization of federal transportation funds and programs like RTP and see a description of the RTP program

Join the nationwide trails community in supporting funding for trails and greenways

 

From Corporation for National and Community Service
April 21, 2009

The Serve America Act reauthorizes and expands national service programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency created in 1993. The Corporation engages four million Americans in result-driven service each year, including 75,000 AmeriCorps members, 492,000 Senior Corps volunteers, 1.1 million Learn and Serve America students, and 2.2 million additional community volunteers mobilized and managed through the agency's programs.

President Obama delivered remarks after signing the bill:

It’s the same spirit of service I’ve seen across this country. I’ve met countless people of all ages and walks of life who want nothing more than to do their part. I’ve seen a rising generation of young people work and volunteer and turn out in record numbers. They’re a generation that came of age amidst the horrors of 9/11 and Katrina, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an economic crisis without precedent. And yet, despite all this -- or more likely because of it -- they’ve become a generation of activists possessed with that most American of ideas, that people who love their country can change it.

They’re why the Peace Corps had three applications for every position available last year; why 35,000 young people applied for only 4,000 slots in Teach for America; why AmeriCorps has seen a 400-percent increase in applications in just the past four months. And yet, even as so many want to serve, even as so many are struggling, our economic crisis has forced our charities and non-for-profits to cut back.

What this legislation does, then, is to help harness this patriotism and connect deeds to needs. It creates opportunities to serve for students, seniors, and everyone in between. It supports innovation and strengthens the nonprofit sector. And it is just the beginning of a sustained, collaborative and focused effort to involve our greatest resource -- our citizens -- in the work of remaking this nation.

We’re doing this because I’ve always believed that the answers to our challenges cannot come from government alone. Our government can help to rebuild our economy and lift up our schools and reform health care systems and make sure our soldiers and veterans have everything they need -- but we need Americans willing to mentor our eager young children, or care for the sick, or ease the strains of deployment on our military families.

That’s why this bill will expand AmeriCorps from 75,000 slots today to 250,000 in less than a decade. (Applause.) And it’s not just for freshly minted college grads. As I said, my wife Michelle left her job at a law firm to be the founding director of an AmeriCorps program in Chicago that trains young people for careers in public service. And Michelle can tell you the transformation that occurred in her life as a consequence of being able to follow her passions, follow her dreams. Programs like these are a force multiplier; they leverage small numbers of members into thousands of volunteers. And we will focus their service toward solving today’s most pressing challenges: clean energy, energy efficiency, health care, education, economic opportunity, veterans and
military families.

We’ll invest in ideas that help us meet our common challenges, no matter where those ideas come from. All across America, there are ideas that could benefit millions of Americans if only they were given a chance to take root and to grow -- ideas like the one that Eric Adler and Raj Vinnakota had that led to this school and expanded its model to others. That’s why this bill includes a new Social Innovation Fund that will bring nonprofits and foundations and faith-based organizations and the private sector to the table with government so that we can learn from one another’s success stories. We’ll invest in ideas that work, leverage privatesector dollars to encourage innovation, expand successful programs to scale and make them work in cities across America.

Because we must prepare our young Americans to grow into active citizens, this bill makes new investments in service learning. And we’ve increased the AmeriCorps education award and linked it to Pell Grant award levels, another step toward our goal of ensuring that every American receives an affordable college education.

Because millions of Americans are out of school and out of work, it creates an Energy Corps that will help people find useful work and gain skills in a growing industry of the future. Because our boomers are the most highly educated generation in history, and our seniors live longer and more active lives than ever before, this bill offers new pathways to harness their talent and experience to serve others.

And because this historic expansion of the Corporation for National and Community Service requires someone with both bold vision and responsible management experience, I have chosen Mary Eitel as its new CEO. The founder and first president of the Nike Foundation, Maria is a smart and innovative thinker, and a leader who shares my belief in the power of service. And I also wanted to thank the acting CEO, Nicky Goren for guiding the corporation through this transition.

We need your service right now, at this moment in history. I’m not going to tell you what your role should be; that’s for you to discover. But I’m asking you to stand up and play your part. I’m asking you to help change history’s course, put your shoulder up against the wheel. And if I -- if you do, I promise you your life will be richer, our country will be stronger, and someday, years from now, you may remember it as the moment when your own story and the American story converged, when they came together, and we met the challenges of our new century.

Print Friendly
Print Friendly and PDF

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter

Stay up to date on legislative issues for trails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

business directory

 

trail database

Need trail skills and education? Do you provide training? Join the National Trails Training Partnership!

The NTTP Online Calendar connects you with courses, conferences, and trail-related training

arrowEnjoy and share the new online, digital version of the American Trails Magazine!

arrowHelp us provide you more useful resources to keep you on the cutting-edge -- please join today!

arrowWe are advocating for your interests! Visit the Supporting Trails page to view the latest in legislative news, current issues, and opportunities, and to learn how to access funding.

arrow Sign up for American Trails Action Alerts and Trail Tracks e-Newsletters.

 

PDF  Some of our documents are in PDF format and require free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
  Download Acrobat Reader

section 508 logo American Trails and NTTP support accessibility with Section 508: read more.