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EPA & Peace Corps Recognize Decade of Partnership in Celebration of EPA’s 50th Anniversary

06/18/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (June 18, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Peace Corps commemorated 10 years of a successful, multi-faceted relationship to support global environmental initiatives. This relationship is one of several that EPA is highlighting as part of the agency’s 50th Anniversary focus on partnerships throughout the month of June.

EPA is one of the largest employers of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) in the federal government, second only to Peace Corps itself, and has partnered with Peace Corps since 2010 to expand the agency’s environmental protection efforts around the world. Currently, the agency has approximately 600 RPCVs on staff at Headquarters and across its 10 regions.

“I am proud to celebrate the productive working relationship between EPA and Peace Corps. The skills, perspective, and spirit of service that Returned Peace Corps Volunteers bring to the agency has helped EPA achieve its mission,” said Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA looks forward to many more years of successful collaboration with Peace Corps, creating and maintaining a safer, healthier environment both at home and abroad.”

 “EPA has long partnered with the Peace Corps to enhance the environmental work our Volunteers do in partnership with communities around the world,” says Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I am not surprised that so many returned Volunteers pursue careers at the EPA when they return from service. It is my hope that both agencies continue their unique and important partnership for many more years to come.” 

EPA is committed to providing opportunities for RPCVs to transition seamlessly from international to public service. In order to facilitate this, EPA and Peace Corps maintain a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was most recently renewed in August 2016. The MOU is managed by EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs.  

As detailed in the MOU, EPA provides technical input on Peace Corps’ training materials and environmental programs, such as handbooks on clean cookstoves, environmental education, pesticides, solid waste, and mercury use in small-scale mining, among others. While serving their nation abroad, Peace Corps Volunteers become involved in ongoing EPA programs by attending EPA workshops and sharing information with local groups in their host countries. The EPA and Peace Corps cooperative has helped strengthen environmental protection efforts in international communities of shared concern, such as in Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Morocco.

In Jamaica, EPA joined stakeholders together with Peace Corps Jamaica and the Sandals Foundation to implement a Trash Free Waters project to reduce marine litter and improve solid waste management practices. As a result, EPA helped the Sandals Foundation establish a program for better waste collection and separation. Additional stories about the impact of EPA and Peace Corps projects, authored by RPCVs who are EPA staff, can be viewed on the EPA blog.

Most recently, EPA partnered with Peace Corps to support RPCVs evacuated from their duty stations due to Covid-19. Over 350 Returning Peace Corps Volunteers participated in a webinar in which EPA staff showcased opportunities at the agency and described how to apply. RPCVs on EPA staff spoke about how their experiences with Peace Corps prepared them for a career with EPA. Through these efforts, EPA was able to fill over 35 positions and provide RPCVs the opportunity to move from unexpected evacuation to a stable and fulfilling career serving the American public and the environment.

For information on job opportunities for RPCVs, see here.

For more on EPA’s 50th Anniversary and how the agency is protecting America’s public health and the environment, visit: https://www.epa.gov/50.

During partnership month, EPA honors the service of our RPCVs by showcasing #EPAServiceStories on EPA’s Twitter and Facebook channels. Follow EPA’s 50th Anniversary celebration on social media using #EPAat50.