U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
A group of coders in hooded sweatshirts and big headphones stare intently at their computer screens.
In the corner, staff take a break at the foosball table, while a young woman in an oversized beanbag chair types away on her laptop.
You might be picturing the headquarters of a Silicon Valley startup, but the scene described above is over 2,000 miles away from San Francisco—in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Read more »
Daniel Stevenson, carpentry student of the Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center shows Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service a map he created of the 28 Job Corps Centers in the United States at the 50th Anniversary of the Job Corp Civilian Conservation Centers celebration at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, Wed. Sept. 17, 2014. The U.S. Forest Service operates the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Corps, the Nation’s largest residential, educational and career technical training program for young Americans. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Economic Opportunity Act. This Act, part of the government effort to wipe out poverty, created the Job Corps program, which has had a positive effect on countless young lives, giving them a chance to break multi-generational cycles of poverty, get an education, and find jobs in the federal and private sectors, and in the military. The U.S. Forest Service works closely with the Department of Labor to operate Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers (Job Corps CCCs) around the country.
Last week, dignitaries including Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, and Tina Terrell, Forest Service National Director of the Job Corps, along with colleagues from the Department of Labor, came together in Washington at USDA’s Whitten Building to mark the anniversary. Read more »
Texas Conservation Corps members building new trail in Texas in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife. Texas Conservation Corps is an AmeriCorps service program of American YouthWorks, a nationally recognized nonprofit and charter high school headquartered in Austin, Texas. Each year the program engages over 100 diverse youth and college-aged young adults in critical, hands-on conservation and disaster service projects, giving participants the skills and opportunities to solve real life community and environmental problems.
When President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative in 2010, one of the top priorities included connecting our youth and veterans to our nation’s cultural and natural resources. President Obama wanted to foster a new generation of stewards to carry on our nation’s proud conservation legacy.
In that spirit, a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) was announced as a collaborative effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors. Through the 21CSC, young people and veterans will accomplish meaningful work, and gain important personal and professional skills while building a lifelong connection to the outdoors.
Today, we are announcing another step forward in our work to turn that vision into a reality. Read more »
It’s no secret that agricultural work is tough work – and as America’s farm families know, it can be dangerous. Last year, agriculture recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry, with the rate of on-the-job fatality in agriculture nearly seven times the rate for all U.S. workers.
Adding complexity to this challenge is the unique role that youth play on the farm and ranch. Many farms and ranches are a family business. This important tradition strengthens American agriculture and instills important life skills for our young people.
Unfortunately, this means that young people also share in the hazards of farm work. On average, more than 100 youth die each year in farm-related accidents. Thousands more are injured on the farm or ranch. Read more »
Recently there has been some concern and confusion in rural America over the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed regulations on child labor and I’d like to help clarify how this regulation will impact our farmers. We all know that kids benefit from good old-fashioned farm work. It’s a longtime way of life that has helped make this country strong, and it teaches kids lessons that last a lifetime.
However, statistics show that while only 4 percent of working youth are in the agriculture sector, 40 percent of fatalities of working kids are associated with machines, equipment, or facilities related to agriculture. That’s way too high. We don’t want to blur the line between teaching kids about a good day’s hard work, and putting them in situations more safely handled by adults. Read more »