SOURCE: USPSA

March 19, 2007 10:19 ET

Bipartisan Congressional Coalition Will Introduce Public Service Academy Act to Create America's First National Civilian College

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 19, 2007 -- More than two dozen senators and representatives from both parties will introduce the Public Service Academy Act in both chambers of Congress tomorrow.

The Public Service Academy Act will establish America's first national public college devoted to developing civilian leaders. The Public Service Academy would be a federally subsidized four-year college modeled on the military service academies. More than 5000 students would get an intensive undergraduate education focused on service and leadership development. Following graduation, they would be required to serve for five years in education, health care, emergency management, or other public service fields at the local, state, and national levels.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) are the leading sponsors of the bill in the Senate. Rep. James Moran (D-VA) and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) are the leading sponsors in the House of Representatives. Other co-sponsors include: Democratic senators Joseph Biden, Barbara Boxer, Edward Kennedy, Mary Landrieu, and Barbara Mikulski; Democratic representatives Danny K. Davis, Diana DeGette, Lloyd Doggett, Sam Farr, Charles Gonzales, Al Green, Gene Green, Ruben Hinojosa, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Nick Lampson, John Lewis, Doris Matsui, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Solomon Ortiz, and Bennie Thompson; and Republican Representative Tom Davis.

"Now, more than ever, it is imperative that our nation improve its capacity to groom future public servants," said Sen. Clinton. "The Public Service Academy is an innovative way to strengthen and protect America."

The Public Service Academy Act will address the growing shortage of public servants at all levels of American society. Top students have grown increasingly less likely to pursue public service careers due to mounting college debts and a culture that belittles public sector work.

"The Academy will help meet America's need for public servants and alleviate the financial burden faced by students who wish to enter the field of public service," said Sen. Specter.

The Academy is the brainchild of two Teach for America/AmeriCorps alumni, Chris Myers Asch and Shawn Raymond. They have spearheaded a grassroots movement in support of the idea. "The Academy will transform the way young Americans perceive, prepare for, and pursue public service," said Asch. "It will reinvigorate our sense of public service and revitalize our public sector."

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