WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior has released draft guidelines to implement the Indian Youth Service Corps (IYSC) Program and announced that it would hold Nation-to-Nation consultations with tribes, Alaska Native corporations, and the Native Hawaiian community on implementation of the Program. The IYSC Program will provide meaningful education, employment, and training opportunities to Indigenous youth through conservation projects on public lands, Indian lands, and Hawaiian homelands – putting young people on a path to good paying jobs working to tackle the climate crisis.
The Interior Department has committed to strengthening tribal sovereignty and governance, fulfilling the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities, and engaging in robust consultation with Tribal Nations. The IYSC Program consultation is the latest in a series of consultation sessions that demonstrate the Department’s commitment to centering the voices of Indigenous peoples.
“The Indian Youth Service Corps Program has the potential to transform the lives of Indigenous youth all across our country,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Young people are the future stewards of our lands, waters, and resources. I am thrilled that the Interior Department can provide greater opportunities to learn, work, and train in a variety of innovative and transformative conservation projects.”
The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 expanded the Public Lands Corps Act to establish the Indian Youth Service Corps Program. The Departments of Agriculture and Commerce will also implement the new program, but the Act specifically charges the Secretary of the Interior with issuing the guidelines for the management of the Indian Youth Service Corps. The President’s Build Back Better Agenda, which includes historic investments to launch a new Civilian Climate Corps, will provide necessary funding to further scale the Indian Youth Service Corps – ensuring Indigenous young people have access to training and service opportunities that will put them on a pathway to good paying jobs in the economy of the future.