In recognition of growing number of Corps Individual Placement programs, a new category of full membership will be open to programs that, while placing Corpsmembers or interns in individual service positions, maintain a strong “esprit de corps” through team-based trainings and activities.
WASHINGTON, DC (September 22, 2016) – The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, announces the creation of the “Individual Placement Program” full membership category. Organizations may apply for or renew their membership in The Corps Network under this new category starting October 1, 2016.
Previously, programs that operate individual placement programs could apply for Affiliate or AmeriCorps Basic Membership in The Corps Network. The Individual Placement Program category expands the types of programs eligible for Full Membership in The Corps Network to Corps that, rather than organizing all of their Corpsmembers into “teams” or “crews,” operate programs in which Corpsmembers serving in individual, internship-like positions are part of a “cohort” of other individual placement Corpsmembers that meets regularly for training and team-based activities. The team, or cohort, model ensures that even Corpsmembers serving in standalone positions benefit from the shared group experience of a traditional crew-based term of service in a Corps.
In the traditional Corps model, crews of up to a dozen Corpsmembers work on projects together under the guidance and supervision of experienced Crewleaders. In recent years, in recognition of the benefits of further service and learning experiences focused on more specific areas of conservation and community development, a growing number of Corps are operating individual placement programs, in addition to traditional crew-based programs.
These internship-like programs are not designed to replace traditional crew-based programs. Rather, Individual Placement Programs offer additional opportunities for Corpsmembers and meet the needs of partners – like the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and other community-based organizations – for Corpsmembers serving in an intern-like capacity as, for example, community educators or research and field assistants. The Individual Placement Program model also offers a pathway for Corpsmembers to develop closer connections with future employers and gain a different kind of career experience than that gained during a crew-based term of service.
“Several of The Corps Network’s Member Corps have successfully operated Individual Placement or internship programs for many years. In fact, the Student Conservation Association, has nearly 60 years of experience placing individual Corpsmembers as interns and assistants with our public land management agencies” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network. “With the input and support of our Corps Council and Board of Directors, we created this membership category to ensure that The Corps Network can effectively serve and represent this tested and increasingly popular program model. By requiring that Corps regularly bring individual placement members together as a cohort or team, we intentionally crafted the eligibility criteria in a way that recognizes the valuable aspects of individual placement programs while staying true to the ‘esprit de corps’ embodied in Corps’ traditional crew-based service.”
“While Individual Placement Corps programs have been around for nearly 60 years, we’ve seen a huge growth in their popularity over the past decade. Roughly a quarter of all Service and Conservation Corps members of The Corps Network currently operate such programs,” said Jeff Parker, Executive Director of Northwest Youth Corps, Chair of the Corps Council and a member of The Corps Network’s Board of Directors. “In response to this growth, it made sense to create a new membership category that recognizes the great value of Individual Placement programs as well as the value of being part of cohort and working alongside one’s peers. The Corps Network wants to learn more about Individual Placement programs and looks forward to welcoming new members.”
Including The Student Conservation Association, there are currently 35 member organizations of The Corps Network that operate or place Corpsmembers in individual placement programs. For instance, The Corps Network and several of its member Corps have, through the Department of the Interior’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative, engaged AmeriCorps-funded individual placement Corpsmembers as Community Coordinators at YMCA locations. These Corpsmembers are tasked with assisting YMCA staff in coordinating outdoor service projects and other community events that encourage youth and families to get outside. Similarly, Corps have also placed individual Corpsmembers at national forests through the U.S. Forest Service’s Resource Assistants Program, which is authorized through the Public Lands Corps authority. This program allows youth to gain intensive, hands-on experience in the agency through a variety of roles and makes them eligible for direct hire.
“We know from experience that individual placement programs can provide rewarding experiences to Corpsmembers and valuable service to Corps partners,” said Sprenkel. “With the creation of the Individual Placement Programs membership category, we hope to expand this program model and develop ways to support different kinds of Corps experiences that still meet the main objective of engaging young people in meaningful service that helps improve communities and the environment.”
The membership categories of The Corps Network now include:
- Full Membership:
Service and Conservation Crops, Individual Placement Programs, and Emerging Corps that operate a comprehensive youth development and service program which engages young people in service to their community and meets all the criteria for membership.
- Affiliate Membership:
Any organization that is interested in promoting, assisting and/or operating programs similar to Service and Conservation Corps or interested in providing satellite or subgrantees access to The Corps Network’s AmeriCorps member Health Plan
- AmeriCorps Basic Membership:
Any AmeriCorps program, including satellite offices and subgrantees of TCN Affiliate members, interested in using The Corps Network’s AmeriCorps member Health Plan
Information about membership in The Corps Network can be found in our Member Benefits Guide. Questions regarding membership should be directed to Bobby Tillett, Member Services Coordinator, [email protected], (202) 737-6272.