Senator John Walsh met with Bozeman residents and Montana Conservation Corps representatives Jono McKinney and Michael Richter to discuss the upcoming wildfire season and the Montana Conservation Corps' work to prepare firefighters and train tomorrow's land stewards.
The Montana Conservation Corps enlists hundreds of young adults and teens each year to work on conservation projects across Montana and in neighboring states, where their work in local communities and on public lands builds leadership and vocational skills. Their Veterans Green Corps program trains veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to become firefighters and work with public land management agencies.
"Veterans returning from combat have tremendous skills and we owe it to those veterans and their families to ensure they have job opportunities when they come home," said Walsh, a 33-year member of the Montana National Guard. "The Montana Conservation Corps' unique program to train veterans is a win-win because it helps our returning servicemembers find employment doing work that benefits all Montanans."
Walsh is a cosponsor of the Public Lands Service Corps Act, a bill to expand programs like the Montana Conservation Corps to provide more job opportunities for young Americans to serve their communities, learn important skills for the workforce, and contribute to Montana's outdoor heritage.
Earlier this month, Walsh sponsored the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act to reform federal wildfire policy and give more certainty to the land management agencies that work on fire suppression and hazardous fuel reduction.
Walsh coordinated the Montana National Guard wildfire response efforts in the summer of 2000, when over one million acres of Montana's forest burned.