21st Century National Service Summit


June 24-25, 2013 | Aspen, Colorado

After General McChrystal’s call for national service at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival, the Franklin Project was created as a new initiative of the Aspen Institute. On June 24th and 25th, 2013, the Franklin Project convened 275 leaders from business, labor, higher education, government, military, faith-based community, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations, offering new perspectives on the next generation of national service in America and charting the path ahead for large-scale civilian national service.

At the Summit, which featured speakers such as Chelsea Clinton, David Gergen, Arianna Huffington, Barbara Bush, Wes Moore, and others, the Franklin Project unveiled its Plan of Action, proposing bold new ideas to make national service a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.  

The Franklin Project's Plan of Action, which was released at the Summit, challenges all young adults to commit to one year of full-time service.  The Plan of Action includes the following specific policy ideas and recommendations:  

  • National Service Corps to Meet National Challenges: Create national service corps through national service organizations that bring together people of different backgrounds and zip codes to be trained and work together in solving pressing public problems.
  • Agency Corps: Develop new corps within federal departments and agencies that mobilize citizens through national service to solve public problems at lower cost to the taxpayer.
  • Professional Corps: Enable young professionals to participate in national service programs that allow them to unleash their talent and training to help those in need.
  • National Service Certification: Launch a National Service Certification System, a private-public partnership that leverages technology to enable thousands of nonprofits, colleges, public agencies, and social enterprises to create full-time national service positions with support from the private and public sectors.
  • Fulfill the Vision of the Serve America Act: Support the full implementation of the Serve America Act, which calls for 250,000 national service positions by 2017.
  • New Pathways to Service: Forge new pathways to service including a "bridge year" of service before college or career and a year of service to help reconnect disconnected youth to school and work.


The Franklin Project also released new research in coordination with the 21st Century National Service Summit, including Voters for National Service: a national survey of registered voters conducted by Hart Research Associates and funded partially by Target which found that 80 percent of registered voters support a system of voluntary national service for people of all ages that provide a living allowance and education award.