You can now apply to be one of the first members of the American Climate Corps. President Joe Biden declared that the program was open for applications on Monday with 273 jobs currently listed on the White House’s website, including coastal conservation in Florida, stream restoration in Montana, and forest management in the Sierra Nevada. The administration said the number of openings will soon reach 2,000, with positions spanning 36 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

“You’ll get paid to fight climate change, learning how to install those solar panels, fight wildfires, rebuild wetlands, weatherize homes, and so much more,” Biden said at a press conference on Monday at Virginia’s Prince William Forest Park, originally built in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, a model for the Biden administration’s new program. “It’s going to protect the environment to build a clean energy economy.”

It’s part of an Earth Day-related policy push from Biden, who also announced $7 billion in grants to install solar power and reduce energy costs for 900,000 low-income and disadvantaged households. The moves might appeal to the young people who were crucial to Biden’s 2020 victory over President Donald Trump and who, according to polls, have been souring on his performance in the White House. But this same demographic supports climate action, according to a poll taken last week by CBS News and YouGov, with more than three-quarters of those surveyed from both parties saying they wanted the U.S. to take steps to address climate change. 

Monday’s announcements also offered a glimpse into what climate corps positions might be available in the future, as the White House looks to employ 20,000 people in the program’s first year, with a target of 200,000 in five years. A new partnership with TradesFutures, a nonprofit construction company, suggests that members could help fill the country’s shortage of skilled workers who can install low-carbon technologies like electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps, while at the same time gaining skills toward getting good-paying jobs. The White House is also planning to place American Climate Corps members in so-called “energy communities” — such as former coal-mining towns — to help with projects like environmental remediation.

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The pay for the listed jobs ranges dramatically depending on location and the experience required. On the lower end, coastal restoration jobs in Puerto Rico offer the equivalent of $12.50 an hour. On the upper end, a position for a biological technician in Idaho that requires experience in identifying plants and managing invasive species pays $23 an hour. The lengths of the terms are all over the place, with some as short as two or three months, though most last at least several months, and the website says that some jobs can be extended or renewed.

Biden first announced that he planned to revive a version of FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps during his first days in office in 2021. But the program took a while to get off the ground after its funding got cut during negotiations with Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, the landmark climate bill Biden signed in 2022. In time, the Biden administration cobbled together funding from a bunch of different agencies to start the program, but it’s much smaller than climate advocates had hoped. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York and Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts had called for 1.5 million jobs over a span of five years in legislation introduced in 2021.

Still, Ocasio-Cortez celebrated the corps’ official arrival at the press conference on Monday. “People said then it was impossible,” she said. “We knew an American Climate Corps wasn’t impossible, because our country has done this before. … What we needed, though, was the political will.”

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