Newly introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate (S-1403) would encourage a number of departments and land management agencies to make greater use of national service volunteers in programs such as the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

“Currently, there is an extensive backlog of public lands projects that have not been completed by federal land agencies. At the same time, there is also a high demand for national service positions, with applications to existing national service corps consistently exceeding the number of available positions. This legislation aims to address both of these issues by authorizing federal departments and land management agencies to enter into cooperative agreements with 21CSC organizations to complete these important projects,” said a fact sheet.

Many participants in such programs are youths or veterans recently separated from military service, it added.

Participating agencies and departments include the Interior, Agriculture, Transportation, Labor, Energy, Defense, Veterans Affairs, Commerce, Education, HUD, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA.

The bill would also require participating agencies to report their progress to the GAO to avoid duplication and inefficiency, and to ensure their activities are being completed in a cost-efficient manner, the fact sheet said.