SIOUX CITY, IA — Today, at a Town Hall in Sioux City, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will announce a bold new plan to reignite a sense of unity in America by dramatically increasing national service opportunities. Dubbed “A New Call to Service”, this initiative will build a network of 1 million National Service Members by the 250th anniversary of America’s Independence in 2026.
“National service can help us to form connections between very different kinds of Americans, as was my experience in the military,” said Buttigieg. “I served alongside and trusted my life to people who held totally different political views. You shouldn’t have to go to war in order to have that kind of experience, which is why I am proposing a plan to create more opportunities for national service.”
The policy aims to vastly expand service opportunities through three key efforts:
Expanding Service Opportunities for All Who Want It: Immediately increase national service opportunities to 250,000 positions through the existing federal and AmeriCorps grantee organizations, especially targeting high school students; students at community colleges, vocational schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs); and opportunity youth (people between ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working).
Building Service Communities: Create competitive grant funding for communities, cities, and regions to create service ecosystems tailored to regional and local issues, which will foster local capacity; empower local leaders to connect the federal, state, local, philanthropic services to each other; and incubate 21st century service models around regional issues to prevent siloed community service initiatives.
Achieving Service at Scale: By 2026, quadruple the number of service opportunities to 1 million high school graduates. Develop new service corps including a Climate Corps, Community Health Corps, and Intergenerational Service Corps, which would be overseen by a new Chief Service Officer with standing on the White House National Security Council and Domestic Policy Council.
Americans are experiencing record-low trust in American institutions and fellow citizens. A New Call to Service seeks to unite a new generation of American youth bound by mutual service and common values, and influenced by the experience of working with people across races, politics, faiths, income levels, gender identities, and geographies.
Quote from Aaron Williams, former Director of the Peace Corps under President Obama:
“Our nation is divided and we’re facing record-low trust in fellow Americans and American institutions. At the same time, our country and our communities are facing challenges with our climate, access to education, and so much more. A strong national service program is a win-win. National service can bridge divides by bringing young Americans together, while also investing in our communities by supporting the future corps of public servants to help combat some of the biggest issues we face as a country — literally creating a platform for our nation’s next “greatest generation”.
Quote from Emily Shields, current Executive Director of Iowa Campus Compact and AmeriCorps VISTA alum:
“National service provides invaluable life experience and community impact. The year I served in San Antonio, Texas as a young person changed my life forever. Today, I run a statewide nonprofit organization — Iowa Campus Compact — and we support AmeriCorps positions in communities across the state. These programs make a huge difference and it’s great to see a presidential candidate focusing on them on the campaign trail.”
Read more about the A New Call to Service here.