Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) today introduced the “Serve America Act,” a bill to expand national and community service opportunities for all Americans.
The goal of the legislation is to encourage 175,000 more Americans to give a year of service to address specific national challenges such as strengthening our schools or increasing economic opportunities, thereby expanding the number of such service participants to 250,000. The legislation will also increase opportunities for individuals to serve at any stage of their life, from childhood through retirement, and will support social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to tackle our most pressing problems.
“President-Elect Obama has called on Americans to serve, and they’ve already shown they’re ready to answer the call, with hundreds of thousands signing up to volunteer on Martin Luther King Day of Service. I’m delighted to join Senator Orrin Hatch in introducing this important bill. Our legislation will make it possible for many more Americans to continue to serve – to devote a year or longer to contribute to their country and their community,” said Senator Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversees existing service programs.
Language in the bill calls for funding to support AmeriCorps programs via the Healthy Futures Corps. Additionally, the bill seeks to focus national service on addressing the needs of medically underserved populations.