National Civilian Community Corps

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The National Civilian Community Corps Logo
Example of an AmeriCorps NCCC Team age 18–24 (Source: Team Eagle 2, Perry Point, MD Campus: Service Year 9, 2003)

National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), or AmeriCorps NCCC is an AmeriCorps program that engages 18– to 24-year-olds in team-based national and community service in the United States. National Civilian Community Corps teams complete about four different six- to eight-week-long projects during their 10-month term of service. Each team is made up of eight to twelve Corps Members and one Team Leader. Corps Members and Team Leaders are representative of all colors, creeds, states, and economic status. Approximately 1,200 Corps Members and Team Leaders are chosen annually to serve at one of five regional campuses, located in Sacramento, California; Denver, Colorado; Vinton, Iowa; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Perry Point, Maryland. Each campus serves as a training center and hub for a multi-state region. Members are required to complete a minimum of 1,700 hours of service, including 80 independent service hours, though members complete an average of 1,850 service hours per term.[1] Since August 2012, NCCC and FEMA have developed a new cadre of NCCC members who follow the traditional NCCC model, but are only sponsored by FEMA during the ten months of service. The cadre is called "FEMA Corps," and exclusively responds to natural disasters.

The mission of the NCCC program is “To strengthen communities and develop leaders through team-based national and community service.” [2]

Benefits[edit]

While serving in AmeriCorps NCCC, Corps Members receive:[1]

  • Living allowance of approx. $4,000 for 10 months of service
  • Room and board
  • Limited healthcare coverage
  • Uniforms
  • Training
  • $5,645 taxable Education Award (upon completion of the program)

After successfully completing a term of service, all AmeriCorps NCCC members are enrolled in the National Service Trust and are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. A Segal AmeriCorps Education Award can be used to pay education costs at qualified institutions of higher education, for educational training, or to repay qualified student loans. The award amount for full-time AmeriCorps programs, including NCCC, is currently $5,550, based on the maximum value of the Pell Grant. The award can be accessed in full or in part, and those qualified have seven years after their term of service has ended to claim the award. Individuals can only receive Education Awards for two terms of AmeriCorps service: Full-time, half-time, reduced half-time, quarter time, and minimum time terms of service each count as one term of service.[3]

History[edit]

Inception (1992)[edit]

The NCCC program was loosely based on the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), although in practice, the differences between NCCC and CCC projects can be quite marked in both practical intent and outcome. In some respects, NCCC teams resemble their CCC predecessors, who were also required to function under rugged conditions for prolonged periods and engage in strenuous conservation and wildfire-fighting projects, flood control, and disaster relief.[4][5] Unlike the original CCC, the NCCC was not created to be a public work relief program, but rather was designed to help communities meet self-identified needs through service projects and develop leadership skills in its participants.[6]

In 1992, "a bipartisan group of Senators worked hand-in-hand with the first Bush Administration to resurrect the CCC in a new form for a new era, creating what is now know [sic] as AmeriCorps NCCC"[7]

Official founding (1993-2005)[edit]

With bipartisan sponsorship, the program was enacted into law in 1993[8][9] (referred to as the "Civilian Community Corps") and signed by President Bill Clinton as a demonstration program charged with determining:

  • Whether federally funded residential service programs can significantly increase the support for national and community service
  • Whether such programs can expand the opportunities for young men and women to perform meaningful, direct, and consequential acts of community service in a manner that will enhance their own skills while contributing to their understanding of civic responsibility in the United States
  • Whether retired members of the armed forces can provide guidance and training under such programs that contribute meaningfully to the encouragement of national service
  • Whether domestic national service programs can serve as a substitute for the traditional option of military service.[10]

While some of the primary motivations cited in the 1993 inception of AmeriCorps NCCC changed and evolved over time, the basic focus of the program has remained the same: environment, education, public safety, and other unmet needs, disaster relief, and the addition of a "disaster services (preparedness and response)" heading in 2006/7.

2005 - Present[edit]

Much of the Fiscal Year 2006 and 2007 funding issued to NCCC was directly specified as being intended for hurricane relief in the Katrina impacted upper-gulf region. In 2007, in response to budget pressures, the Corporation for National and Community Service announced the closure of the Charleston, SC and Washington, DC campuses. Sixty percent of the remaining NCCC will be deployed to the Gulf Coast to aid with Hurricane Katrina relief until at least 2010.

In 2008 the National Civilian Community Corps opened a new campus in Vinton, Iowa. This was followed in July 2009 by the opening of a new campus in Vicksburg, Mississippi.[1]

FEMA Corps[edit]

In 2012, FEMA and The Corporation for National and Community Service created FEMA Corps. The FEMA Corps who range in age from 18–24 years old, is a cadre dedicated to disaster response and recovery. It is a new partnership between The Corporation for National and Community Service's AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA.[11]

The Corps, described as a "dedicated, trained, and reliable disaster workforce" works full-time for ten months on federal disaster response and recovery efforts. The first 231 members of the FEMA Corps class were inducted on September 30, 2012. The Corps work on teams of 8 to 12 people, and follow the traditional NCCC model of living together and traveling together. In addition to working with FEMA, corps members must perform AmeriCorps responsibilities such as physical training three times a week, National Days of Service, and Individual Service Projects in communities throughout The United States. The Corps receives $4.75 a day for food, and a living stipend of $4,000 over ten months. An education award is distributed to corps members who successfully serve 10 months of service, completing 1,700 total hours.[12]

Programs and projects[edit]

Overview[edit]

Before starting project work, members go through team building exercises, physical training and special training for the individual jobs they will hold on the team. During this time, members also receive extensive training in first aid/CPR and disaster relief through the Red Cross. They are also trained on how to use different tools and other equipment they might need throughout their projects.

Projects fall into one or more of five areas: disaster response, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Teams frequently work with non-profit organizations such as Habitat For Humanity and the American Red Cross, tutor students in public schools, and build trails for various national and state parks.

Disaster Relief[edit]

The National Civilian Community Corps may be called on to respond to any Federal or State disaster including fires, floods, earthquakes, oil spills, mudslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, or terrorist attacks.

Environment[edit]

NCCC performs environmental work in a number of areas, usually in collaboration with state and national parks.

Education[edit]

NCCC teams have worked in partnership with school systems across the country. A summary of national service work by AmeriCorps NCCC, released in early 2006, states that NCCC had by then tutored 319,000 students.[13]

In conjunction with the American Council on Education (ACE), NCCC Corps Members who complete course requirements during their year of service can earn undergraduate credits hours for "Introduction to Service Learning" and "Core Supervisory Skills." (See ACE's "National Guide Online")[14]

Upon successful completion of service, NCCC Corps Members earn a (taxable) education award of $5,350 for college tuition—awards that are matched by many colleges and universities.[15]

Fire fighting[edit]

All National Civilian Community Corps members are trained in CPR, first aid, and disaster services, and about 15 percent become red-card certified fire fighters.[16]

NCCC teams have successfully served in fighting major wildland fires[17][18][19] and in completing fire mitigation work, according to National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service officials.[20]

Summer of Service[edit]

The NCCC Summer of Service is an intensive summer program designed to introduce youth ages 14 to 17 to national service and to foster such values as teamwork, responsibility, and the ethic of serving your community. Like the year-round AmeriCorps NCCC experience, NCCC Summer of Service combines the best practices of structured team-based activities with service-learning programming. In 2008, Summer of Service participants engaged in service projects in Los Angeles; Memphis; New Orleans; Sacramento, Denver; Camden, N.J.; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Houston[1]

Impact and reactions[edit]

"Since 1994, more than 12,000 members have invested more than 20 million service hours on 6,500 service projects with thousands of nonprofit organizations and other public agencies to provide disaster services, tutor children, preserve the environment, build homes for low-income families and meet other challenges. In FY 2008, 60 percent of members served in the Gulf Coast Region on multiple team deployments assisting local communities to recover from the effects of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, Dolly, and Wilma.[16]

Hurricane Katrina Response[edit]

AmeriCorps NCCC, a team-based residential program for 18-24 year-olds, has made Hurricane Katrina response its primary focus these past three years, deploying more than 4,000 members to intensive assignments in the Gulf. National Civilian Community Corps members have refurbished 9,500 homes, built 1,450 new homes, completed 52,000 damage assessments, and trained and supervised more than 227,000 volunteers. ".[21]

Criticisms[edit]

AmeriCorps (which includes the NCCC program) is a USA federally funded "network of more than 3,000 non-profit organizations, public agencies, and faith-based organizations." AmeriCorps has met with sharp criticisms from fiscal conservatives who accused it of being a "boondoggle", most notably by libertarian James Bovard in a Fox News article that covered proposals to cut funding for the program.[22]

Funding[edit]

As a part of AmeriCorps, within the Corporation for National and Community Service, the National Civilian Community Corps is congressionally funded. Appropriations are proposed by the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittees in the House of Representative[23] and in the Senate.[24]

Other than a one-time supplemental appropriation for Gulf-Coast hurricane relief, NCCC funding has remained at approximately $25 – $26 million since 2002.[25]

As of early October 2007, the Senate and House had yet to meet in conference to arrive at consensus legislation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d http://www.americorps.gov/about/programs/nccc.asp
  2. ^ http://www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/faq/index.asp#FAQs%20for%20AmeriCorps%20NCCC
  3. ^ http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/segal-americorps-education-award
  4. ^ http://www.state.tn.us/environment/tn_consv/archive/ccc_onemansjourney.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.sunherald.com/editorials/story/141099.html
  6. ^ AmeriCorps.gov > Frequently Asked Questions
  7. ^ "Mikulski Calls for Restoration of President's Massive Americorps Cut". Senator Barbara Mikulski. Archived from the original on 2009-01-03. 
  8. ^ Corporation for National and Community Service
  9. ^ PUBLIC LAW 103-82
  10. ^ ExpectMore.gov: AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps
  11. ^ http://www.fema.gov/blog/2012-03-13/announcing-creation-fema-corps
  12. ^ http://www.dhs.gov/blog/2012/09/14/welcome-fema-corps-inaugural-class
  13. ^ AmeriCorpsNCCC
  14. ^ ACE | College Credit Recommendation Service
  15. ^ AmeriCorps
  16. ^ a b http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/2008_budget_justification.pdf
  17. ^ J-F Services - Blackerby Fire
  18. ^ J-F Services - Wildland Firefighting (August 18 - September 2, 2006)
  19. ^ J-F Services - Idaho
  20. ^ Forest to Grassland Newsletter 2.pub
  21. ^ "http://www.americorps.gov/about/newsroom/releases_detail.asp?tbl_pr_id=1123
  22. ^ Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (March 20, 2006). "AmeriCorps on Budget Chopping Block". Fox. 
  23. ^ Appropriations Committee - Dave Obey, Chairman
  24. ^ United States Senate Committee on Appropriations - Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
  25. ^ AmeriCorps Appropriations History - AmeriCorps Alums

External links[edit]