Delaney Announces Plan for Mandatory National Service

Delaney plan calls for all young people to spend one year serving their country

FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS, MD – John Delaney releases today his plan to establish a mandatory service program. Under Delaney’s National Service plan, all Americans would be required to serve their country for at least one year, with an option to serve for two. This requirement would apply to everyone upon turning 18, no exceptions. While serving their country, participants will be paid, and in exchange, they will receive two years of free tuition at a public college or university. If they choose to serve for two years, they will receive three years of tuition at a public college or university. This benefit can also be applied to vocational or technical training. In addition to this educational benefit, participants will also get work experience and learn new skills, better preparing them for the rest of their careers.

“Our country is so terribly divided right now and it’s getting worse every day, especially when we have a White House that isn’t interested in bringing people together. We need big transformational change to stop America from dividing any further. We need mandatory national service.  It’s time to bring the country together, restore our sense of shared purpose and a common and inclusive national destiny,” said Delaney. “By mandating national service we build a future where young people begin their adult lives serving their country and working alongside people from different backgrounds. Where people from Massachusetts and Florida and Oklahoma work alongside each other; where people who grew up in the suburbs, in farm towns, in coal country, in urban communities get to know each other, get to learn from each other and get to see firsthand that we still have a lot in common.”

John Delaney’s Mandatory National Service Plan

To help bring people from different backgrounds together, Delaney is proposing a mandatory national service program to provide opportunities for young people to give back to their country and to meet and work with people from all backgrounds.

  • Every American will complete a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 2 years of mandatory national service when they graduate high school, or turn 18
    • The National Service requirement will apply to individuals born after 2006, but will phase in over time
  • To meet the National Service requirement, participants can choose one of four options:
    • serving in our nation’s military (the requirements and duration will continue as they currently exist)
    • serving in a new expanded Community Service program
    • serving in a new National Infrastructure Apprenticeship program
    • serving in a newly created Climate Corps

Community Service

  • Community Service would operate similarly to AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps
  • Participants in the Community Service track would work on projects such as mentoring and literacy tutoring for disadvantaged students, awareness programs for public health campaigns, outreach activities for social service programs, and structured after school care programs

Infrastructure Apprenticeships

  • The government would enter into public/private partnerships with private companies and trade unions to offer infrastructure apprenticeships
  • Private companies would be awarded contracts to undertake projects such as improving public parks or renovating federal buildings to make them environmentally green. 
  • Trade unions will be utilized as the programs can leverage the successful apprenticeship model used by the trade unions
  • Those who complete the apprenticeships would receive a professional certificate proving mastery of particular skill sets

To implement infrastructure apprenticeships, all federal contractors would be required to design and implement an apprentice program

  • Encourage other companies to do their patriotic duty and follow suit, perhaps using a model that’s been tremendously successful in Switzerland, where companies pay students to work as part-time apprentices

Climate Corps

  • To fight climate change, participants would assist in clean energy projects, including solar installation, improving building efficiency, developing community gardens, and increasing awareness about sustainable practices
  • Provide information and support to families about sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy
  • Participants would be stationed in rural and low-income areas to assist communities’ transition to a green economy and invest in environmentally friendly projects


  • The program will be paid; the salary/stipend will vary based on regional cost of living and whether housing is provided through the program
  • 1 year of service will result in 2 years of free in-state tuition and fees at a public university, community college, or technical school
  • 2 years of service will result in 3 years of free in-state tuition and fees at a public university.
  • Learn skills to be used for future jobs
  • Brings people together by exposing participants to people from different economic backgrounds, people from different parts of the country, and people with different political beliefs, which will restore an understanding of our common American identity and renew belief in our common purpose
  • Boost for local infrastructure, conservation, and community projects
  • Creates a nationwide sense of service and patriotism