WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is marking the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps national service program on Friday by sharing the stage with former President Bill Clinton, the program's creator, at a White House ceremony with hundreds of new volunteers as they are being sworn in for duty.
Obama was also announcing new steps to improve employment prospects for AmeriCorps alumni and to encourage young people to participate in community service, the White House said.
In 1993, Clinton signed the bill that created AmeriCorps. He launched the first class of volunteers 20 years ago on Sept. 12, 1994.
Obama and Clinton are to address volunteers gathered on the South Lawn during an event that kicks off a year of service for some 75,000 AmeriCorps members.
Obama was announcing a new initiative to encourage employers — private, nonprofit and government at all levels — to create recruitment, hiring and advancement opportunities for graduates of AmeriCorps, which operates exclusively in the U.S., and the Peace Corps, which directs volunteers to service opportunities outside the U.S.
Several private and nonprofit employers already have signed up for the effort, including Disney, Comcast, CSX, the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, the White House said.
Obama was also announcing a new award to recognize the accomplishments of younger volunteers and encourage service by their peers.
In addition, an expansion of partnerships between the Corporation for National and Community Service, other federal agencies and the private sector will create thousands of new opportunities for service in communities across the country, the White House said. The corporation is the federal agency that runs AmeriCorps.
Since 1994, more than 900,000 people have spent more than 1.2 billion hours volunteering on projects nationwide, the corporation says.
Beyond the White House, swearing-in ceremonies are also being held in the 50 states and several U.S. territories.
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