DENVER (CBS4) - When President Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, several groups in Colorado rejoiced as they crawled closer to a much needed increase in funding. Colorado has eight accredited Youth Corps organizations, and they could see a boost that would bring money, and, in turn, hire people for much needed projects throughout the state.
"What this bill does is put people to work on a really key mission," said Scott Segerstrom Colorado Youth Corps Association Executive Director. "What we're seeing now is that partnership put on steroids. Really putting deep investments in wildfire mitigation, in invasive species, in trail, in a number of really critical missions."
CYCA has been working with its member organizations as well as Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse on a 21st Century Conservation Corps bill. On Wednesday, it was made part of the President's massive infrastructure package.
The focus would be using the tax dollars to hire more corps members. In Colorado, the focus would be on forest health and wildfire mitigation.
"We go out and do forest thinning and sometimes even active fire suppression, but the overall goal is to keep communities safe from mega fires. The outdoor recreation economy is a keystone of Colorado. It's really important to have corps out there ensuring out public lands stays iconic, stays accessible, and continues to be an economic driver," Segerstrom said.
With a positive impact on potentially thousands of Colorado teens, young adults, or military veterans.
"This bill is also going to graduate a generation of Coloradans that are stronger, healthier and more knowledgeable," Segerstrom said. "When you serve and graduate from an AmeriCorps program you get an education award. You can use that to pay for tuition or use that to reduce existing student loan debt. So, students can go off into their career or reduce their student loans so their more quickly on a path toward economic independence."
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