Next100 policy entrepreneur Robert Godfried submitted a public comment to the federal AmeriCorps agency regarding the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Service Project Application, recommending that AmeriCorps NCCC modify its service project application to prioritize investment in underserved communities and strengthen pathways to education, employment, and other opportunities for AmeriCorps members. You can read Robert’s full comment below.
From: Robert Godfried ([email protected]), Next100
To: Jacob Sgambati, Deputy Director, AmeriCorps NCCC
Re: Next100 Comment on the AmeriCorps NCCC Service Project Application
Dear Mr. Sgambati,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide public comment on the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Service Project Application. I am an AmeriCorps alumnus and Policy Entrepreneur at Next100, a startup think tank working to diversify the policy sector and empower impacted communities to develop policy. At Next100, I research and advocate for policies to create a more equitable AmeriCorps. As part of my research, I have discussed the AmeriCorps NCCC Service Project Application with NCCC staff and a panel of diverse AmeriCorps alumni from across the country.
I applaud the focus on equity in the 2022-2026 AmeriCorps Strategic Plan and specifically the call to “prioritize investment in the most underserved individuals and communities” and to “enhance the experience for AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers [by] strengthen[ing] pathways to education, employment, and other opportunities.” To make progress toward these objectives, I recommend that AmeriCorps NCCC update its application questions and expected program outcomes.
To achieve these equity goals, I recommend that AmeriCorps NCCC modify questions 26 and 27 in their service project application, as well as add information on braided funding opportunities for eligible programs.
Question 26 asks applicants about how they plan to recruit AmeriCorps members, but does not specify what types of communities they should recruit from. Given the strategic plan’s goals, I recommend that the question be modified to include the recruitment of AmeriCorps members from underserved communities. I recommend modifying the current prompts to ask applicants how they plan to recruit from underserved communities for the AmeriCorps positions. I also recommend modifying the current prompts to ask programs how they plan to assist potential AmeriCorps members in overcoming economic and social barriers that might prevent them from applying to or participating in the program.
Question 27 asks applicants how they would focus on member skill-building to further project goals. To improve the experience of AmeriCorps members, applicants should also consider how skill-building can be used to enhance post-service outcomes for members. I recommend modifying this question to also ask applicants how skills gained during service could promote member development and help members gain credentials or knowledge useful for post-service employment or education.
In addition to the modifications to the two questions above, I recommend adding information on potential additional federal funding sources, including which programs are eligible for supplemental funds, what programs must do to apply for and receive these funds, and links to relevant grant applications. AmeriCorps grantee organizations interested in improving equity through new recruitment strategies or member development may lack the funds necessary to implement these changes. AmeriCorps NCCC can identify federal partner agencies and encourage braided federal funding streams by including this information in the application.
Thank you for your consideration,