As times and trends change as well as funding sources, sometimes programs do not continue, are reinvented, or become redundant. Some of the past programs we are proud of are listed below.
Summer Opportunity AmeriCorps Program (2015 – 2017)
Summer is a critical time for teens and young adults to gain résumé-building skills and experience outside the classroom. Unfortunately, opportunities for summer enrichment are scarce for young adults in underserved communities. To address this issue, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) partnered with The Corps Network in 2015 on the Summer Opportunity AmeriCorps Program (SOAP): a pilot in which select Corps in The Corps Network’s Opportunity Youth Service Initiative engaged teenagers in 3-month-long AmeriCorps terms of service doing conservation and community improvement projects. This pilot demonstrated that even relatively short terms of service can have a positive influence on participants.
This program was different from other AmeriCorps programs in that Corps could enroll participants as young as 14 and offer a short, 100-hour term of service that does not count towards an individual’s 4-term AmeriCorps limit. SOAP – or the AmeriCorps Affiliate Program, as it is officially known – was funded for the summers of 2015, 2016 and 2017.
PSEI: Postsecondary Success Education Initiative (2012 – 2014)
Created in 2009 (The Corps Network became a partner in 2012), the Postsecondary Success Education Initiative (PSEI) was designed to connect low-income and disadvantaged youth to college and postsecondary education. The PSEI strengthened the ability of youth-serving programs to help under-resourced young adults enroll in postsecondary education programs by helping these programs offer their students more rigorous academics and postsecondary support. Local youth-serving programs (including five member Corps of The Corps Network: Conservation Corps North Bay, Civicorps, Green City Force, Greater Miami Service Corps, and Youth Conservation Corps) involved in the PSEI received grant money that could be used to strengthen their academic programs in a number of ways, including: collecting data and improving the use of data that could inform academic programming; building curricula and buying books and school materials that make students more college ready; and paying for application fees and transportation costs for low-income students. Essentially, the local programs used the money to help ensure that their participants – youth between the ages of 18 and 25 who are not already in school and live in poor communities – have a path to postsecondary success. The PSEI was led by The Corps Network, YouthBuild USA, National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) with Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities acting as the program evaluator.
Clean Energy Service Corps – CESC (2010 – 2014)
With the April 2009 passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, a grant program was created through the Corporation for National and Community Service to fund clean energy projects for Corps across country. Corpsmembers enrolled in Clean Energy crews weatherized and retrofitted homes for low-income families, conducted energy audits, and educated people about energy efficiency tactics and discounts. Some 98 percent of retrofitted homes saw a reduction in annual energy consumption, while CESC Corpsmembers became competitive jobseekers in the growing green energy industry through receiving credentials like the Building Performance Institute (BPI) Insulation/Air Sealing Technician certification. Clean Energy crews operated at Corps programs in cities such as New York, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, Austin, and Bend, as well as smaller communities like Waukegan, Illinois, Norwich, New York, and Traverse City, Michigan.
Civic Justice Corps – CJC
Through Civic Justice Corps (CJC) programs, formerly incarcerated and court-involved youth reconnect with the community and find pathways to success through service. CJC Corpsmembers improve their communities by completing a range of service projects, including planting trees in bare urban landscapes, weatherizing the homes of their low-income neighbors, replacing sidewalks on dilapidated streets, and installing green roofs on city government buildings. CJC’s remarkable effectiveness is a tribute to these youth and the people who work with them. The Civic Justice Corps Initiative was supported by the Open Society Foundations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and The Corps Network. While The Corps Network is not currently operating a specific Civic Justice Corps program, although many Corps continue to recruit Corpsmembers from the justice system and offer program models with supports built in to effectively serve this population. Most recently, The Corps Network’s Postsecondary Education Success Initiative has made a concerted effort to enroll a percentage of participants who have been formerly incarcerated. The U.S. Department of Labor has also recently funded Civic Justice Corps programs.
Partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation (2010 – 2012)
Through a partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), youth corps worked with BOR staff on BOR lands to accomplish a variety of maintenance and conservation projects. Funded through American Recovery and Investment Act dollars (stimulus funding) 5 Corps across the nation participated in the program at locations including.
Partnership with Planters Peanuts (2011)
Working with the well-known peanut company Planters and landscape architect Ken Smith, in 2011 The Corps Network and its partners transformed neglected urban spaces in New Orleans, Washington D.C., and New York City into parks known as Planters Grove.
Inclusive Crew Project (2008)
Through a grant from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, the Inclusive Crew Project supported three demonstration programs designed to assure inclusion of young people with disabilities in crew-based service and service learning. Utah Conservation Corps, Wisconsin’s Operation Fresh Start, and Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa all recruited inclusive crews. It should be noted that Corps included members with both physical and mental disabilities prior to this program and continue to successfully include members in crews today. In 2009, an Inclusion Toolkit was published for Corps who wished to learn more about how to serve this unique population.
Corps Respond (2007-2010)
The Corps Respond program trained Corpsmembers to be prepared and help their communities prepare and respond in times when disasters strike. While the Corps Respond program ended, Corps continue their disaster relief efforts today, working independently and also with the Corporation for National & Community Service’s Disaster Services Unit. More information about the modern efforts of Corps to prepare and respond to disasters can be found here.
Welfare to Work (1999-2003)
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, The Corps Network tasked 9 Corps to help disadvantaged youth whose families were on welfare to participate in enhanced Corps programs designed to connect them employment through a “work-first” strategy. Of 446 participants, 55% were eventually placed in jobs. 47% of participants remained in those jobs 6 months after completing the program. Learn more.