The graduation speeches have been broadcast over Zoom, the final papers submitted digitally, and the diplomas shipped to students’ homes. The next step is less certain. Across the nation, what typically comes after the pomp and circumstance for high school or college graduates — finding a job — is now a far more daunting prospect. Tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs in recent months, and ending shelter in place orders won’t bring them all back anytime soon.
It’s the perfect moment to create a 21st-century jobs corps, with climate starring front and center.
The concept is hardly original: Putting jobless Americans back to work with projects that need to be done was the goal of dozens of public works programs that were part of the New Deal of the 1930s, including the environmentally focused Civilian Conservation Corps. (Those programs’ legacy is unfortunately marred by their racism and sexism.) More recently, a national jobs program has emerged as a cornerstone of the Green New Deal and a plank of former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s climate platform.
But the idea’s progressive origins hardly necessitates that it suffer the sa... Read more