Joe Biden: The Service President
The Serve America Together campaign is issuing a new call to President Biden to “build back better” as the Service President.
National service has the potential to transform how we address the biggest challenges of our time. It can bolster pandemic response and preparedness, put Americans on a pathway to work, address our climate crisis by harnessing the energy of the next generation, and help foster civic renewal.
As part of our Serve America Together campaign to make national service a part of growing up in America, we have set our sights on an ambitious vision for national service — one that strengthens service in America so that every young person, regardless of background, has the opportunity to serve. This vision has the potential to become reality if spearheaded by leadership in the White House.
As a lifelong public servant and advocate for service in all its forms, President Biden has an opportunity to make a bold investment in national service as a solution to today’s convergent crises.
The Biden Administration has identified COVID, climate change, racial justice, and economic inequality as its top priorities. And the Biden campaign focused on restoring the soul of the nation. National service is uniquely positioned to help him meet all of these goals at once while building off the principles and ideals that have shaped President Biden’s own career.
President Biden should call young people across the nation into national service to support our country’s unmet needs — all while addressing his Administration's top priorities.
Prioritizing national service in the Biden Administration means:
- Expanding national service positions to 250,000 a year, up from 75,000 a year today and progress toward an ultimate goal of one million;
- Elevating service in the White House by creating a National Service Advisor and service corps within and between departments and federal agencies;
- Flooding the nonprofit sector with critical support through a Service Year Fellowship;
- Making national service positions accessible to youth of all races, ethnicities, and income levels by increasing stipends and benefits and eliminating barriers for groups working with opportunity youth;
- Ensuring workforce development is integrated into national service programs; and
- Launching an online portal to connect people to military, national, and public service opportunities
This is a pivotal moment for America and for our movement. The Serve America Together campaign is issuing this call to President Biden to become the Service President to ensure that this unprecedented moment in our history is met with a bold idea that meets the moment.
With President Biden’s leadership, national service has the potential to transform our nation, our young people, and our democracy. He has the chance to make national service the cornerstone of his legacy and become the Service President.
The New York Times Endorses National Service for All Young Americans
The New York Times editorial board endorsed national service for all young Americans, citing our Serve America Together campaign and saying that President Biden has the opportunity to make universal national service a reality. Their call to national service even made it into the Sunday print edition!
“Asking young Americans for a year of their time for their country would be a powerful way to inculcate that call to service. It would not be a panacea for America’s troubles, of course. But a year in which barriers of race, class and income were breached, working in areas like underresourced schools, national parks or the military, where the fruits of service were real and beneficial, could help restore a measure of the community, commitment and hope that America cries out for.” - The New York Times
A Roadmap to a Service Presidency
In April 2021, Service Year Alliance released a white paper entitled, "Reimagining National Service: A Roadmap to a Service Presidency." The paper offers a roadmap for how President Biden can reimagine national service to meet his Administration’s priorities. It highlights opportunities for expanding national service, outlines the gaps, and offers solutions to improve and expand upon the existing national service infrastructure. It offers six steps that would allow President Biden to make national service a foundational part of his Administration building off the principles and ideals that have shaped his career.
Brookings Institution + Service Year Alliance Event: Reimagining National Service
Following the release of the white paper, Service Year Alliance hosted an event with the Brookings Institution on May 4, 2021. The event "Reimagining National Service" focused on how national service is currently helping the country “build back better” and how we might reimagine national service in America to meet our nation’s top priorities — including COVID response and recovery, workforce development, climate change and infrastructure, racial justice, and healing a divided nation. The event featured remarks from Gen. John Allen, Serve America Together co-chair Wes Moore, and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).
The event included a presentation from Service Year Alliance's CEO Jesse Colvin who outlined our "Roadmap to a Service Presidency" and walked step-by-step through our white paper.
Two terrific panels also took place — one featuring national service leaders and the other made up of Brookings fellows and policy experts — who discussed their visions for national service and our roadmap to a service presidency. Watch the full event here:
As part of this event, Serve America Together co-chair Wes Moore made a clear call to President Biden to be the Service President. Help spread the word: President Biden has the opportunity to make national service the cornerstone of his legacy and become the Service President.