Restore America Through National Service

Let’s seize an opportunity to bring Americans together across divisions, give young Americans new skills and improve the lives of millions throughout the country – through a program of voluntary national service in exchange for a generous stipend and educational benefits. In certain segments of society – the military, the Intelligence Community and some professions – Americans of all backgrounds still come together to tackle the most difficult shared problems. We can build on that model and ensure that the next generation of Americans has the opportunity to forge ties across divisions and to heal the splits that the last several decades of civic and political disengagement have wrought in American society.

My initial proposal:

A voluntary program of national service on the Americorps model, but scaled up over years to a size and flexibility that any American who has graduated high school in the last five years can join: This voluntary one year program would provide all attendees basic room and board, a living wage, and a portable educational benefit which can be used at any accredited vocational technical program, community college, or university. Service corps members would be assigned to work in a wide array of community service projects in all states and territories, including building affordable housing, emergency management, disaster relief, the national park system and numerous other areas.