National service can help young people find jobs
In March, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was passed by Congress, a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill intended to help communities recover in the wake of COVID-19. In addition to providing economic relief and funding for vaccinations, the plan will bring hundreds of millions of dollars to our strengthen our schools. The law also includes an additional $1 billion for national service through AmeriCorps, which helps to support our work in schools across 29 U.S. cities, however learning happens—in person or online.
National service will be more important than ever for young adults navigating a changing and recovering labor market, City Year’s CEO Jim Balfanz says.
AmeriCorps is key to providing young adults with jobs and opportunity
During their year or more of service, our AmeriCorps members strengthen critical skills like teamwork, communication and problem solving sought after by employers and of benefit to their communities. Corps members receive 300+ hours of training, benefits and access to exclusive scholarships that pave the way for the next step in their career. These professional growth opportunities will be especially valuable as the country emerges from the effects of the pandemic.
“It’s a double win for society to invite young people that may not be able to get a job to serve for a year or two in AmeriCorps to help children and families,” says Balfanz, who is a 1994 alum of City Year Boston.
More than 75,000 people participate annually in the network of AmeriCorps national service programs, including 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members who serve full time in more than 300 public schools. AmeriCorps and other public-private partnerships can play an important role in ensuring resources are deployed effectively to help the country weather the effects of COVID-19, Balfanz says.
For thousands of young adults who may be graduating from college without a clear plan for their future , a year or two of national service offers meaningful work, the chance to be part of a diverse team, and an opportunity to gain transferrable skills while helping a community to thrive.
Following school closures, distanced learning and transitions back to in-person learning educators are working to reengage students and overcome technological and infrastructure hurdles for learning, Balfanz says. School partners also are looking for new ways AmeriCorps members can support students and teachers both in person and virtually.
Supporting students wherever learning happens
The impact of COVID-19 has been wide-reaching and disruptive, particularly for the students and schools we partner with. Like all of us, students are experiencing different kinds of loss and stress. But they continue to dream big and strive for success.
School shutdowns have cut many off students from positive and consistent relationships with AmeriCorps members and partner teachers. These developmental relationships build social, emotional and academic skills that help students stay on track to graduate, prepared for college and career success.
The core of our work has always been focusing on building consistent, positive and caring relationships with students, which is foundation for learning to happen. This work continues to happen, whether in person, on line or via hybrid learning approaches.
In close partnership with schools and communities, we adapted our service to meet evolving local needs and best support teachers, parents and students.
As our schools are reopening, City Year AmeriCorps are helping students to reengage with their learning and rejoin their school communities. Regardless of where learning happens, our work to help students grow academically, socially and emotionally remains the same.
If you or a young adult in your life is looking for a challenging and rewarding experience, consider applying to City Year.
As schools reopen, City Year AmeriCorps members have a critical role in helping students reconnect with their school community. Connect with us to learn why our students need you now more than ever.
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