Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and its programs and initiatives.

 

Serve in Your Community

AmeriCorps NCCC

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

Applicants and Members - Answers




  • What is FEMA Corps?

    The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) joined forces to establish a FEMA-devoted division of 1,600 service corps members within AmeriCorps' National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) solely dedicated to disaster readiness, response, and recovery.

    FEMA Corps members serve a 10-month term, with an option to apply for a second 10-month term of service. NCCC- FEMA Corps is a full-time, team-based, residential service program for men and women, between the age of 18 to 24, operated in the same campus structure as AmeriCorps NCCC. FEMA Corps members are assigned to one of five NCCC campuses, located in Denver, Colorado; Sacramento, California; Perry Point, Maryland; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Vinton, Iowa. FEMA Corps members receive a living allowance of approximately $4,000 for the 10 months of service (about $200 every two weeks before taxes), housing, meals, limited medical benefits, up to $400 a month for childcare, if necessary, member uniforms, and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the program.

    FEMA Corps members are national service participants and will provide support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovery centers to sharing valuable disaster readiness and mitigation information with the public.


  • What’s the difference between FEMA Corps and the traditional track of AmeriCorps NCCC?

    The AmeriCorps NCCC program focuses in a wide variety of service and project areas including direct response and recovery to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. In partnership with nonprofits, secular and faith based organizations, local municipalities, state governments, federal government, national or state parks, Indian Tribes and schools; NCCC members complete service projects throughout the campus region they are assigned.

    FEMA Corps members will solely focus on disaster response and recovery activities with FEMA. Members will be dedicated to FEMA deployments in areas of logistics, community relations, individual and public assistance, and recovery. They will provide support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovery centers to sharing valuable disaster mitigation information with the public.


  • Will the traditional NCCC track still respond to natural and other disasters?

    Yes. As one of our main project focus areas, NCCC has a commitment to work related to disaster preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery. The traditional NCCC track will still work directly with state commissions, nonprofits, and faith based disaster response organizations. Potential activities include setting up and managing shelters and emergency call centers, large scale debris removal, demolition and construction, as well as leading and contributing to overall volunteer efforts. AmeriCorps NCCC members can expect at least one project in this focus area.


  • How Do I Apply to FEMA Corps?

    To apply to FEMA Corps simply search listings for AmeriCorps NCCC or AmeriCorps NCCC Team Leaders. All NCCC opportunities that are currently accepting applications will be listed here. Select AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps and “Apply Now.”


  • Can I apply for more than one AmeriCorps NCCC track?

    Yes. You can use the same application to apply to FEMA Corps and AmeriCorps NCCC as a Team Leader or Corps Member. Simply search listings for AmeriCorps NCCC, and click on each listing to select “Apply Now” for each opportunity that interests you. If you do not submit your application to a specific listing or position, your application will not be considered, so be sure to select “Apply Now” for each listing. You will receive a confirmation email upon successful submission.


  • Can I be selected for both AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps, and then choose which track I want to do?

    No. Once you are invited to serve for one NCCC service track you will no longer be able to be selected for the other NCCC service track. Be sure to learn as much as possible about the many opportunities available to you, and decide which option is right for you.


  • Why are CNCS and FEMA offering this FEMA Corps track?

    As an easily deployable, highly motivated, and energized corps of young people, AmeriCorps NCCC has been a vital support system for communities across America in times of natural disaster and with FEMA Corps we hope to expand our impact to all communities in these times of need. With the help of FEMA and an increase of 1,600 additional corps members we can greatly increase our level of support and strengthen the nation’s disaster response capacity.

    In FEMA Corps, young people are provided with the training, experience, and educational opportunities to prepare them for careers in emergency management and related fields, a commitment that extends beyond their service term

    The partnership will strengthen our nation’s culture of service and civic engagement by mobilizing corps members and community volunteers to provide critical disaster services.

Partners and Organizations - Answers




  • Who is paying for this new division within the NCCC?

    FEMA Corps is fully funded by FEMA to include the living allowance, education award, startup costs, staffing, and all other associated costs.


  • What will FEMA Corps members do?

    In their 10-month term of service, the FEMA Corps members will focus on disaster readiness and recovery activities, providing support in the following areas (this is a sampling of the tasks):

    • Assisting in individual applicant case work and providing information to individuals and families on available resources

    • Assist in coordinating management report and tracking the delivery of assistance to individuals and families

    • Standing up and coordinating Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC’s)

    • Supporting FEMA Joint Field Offices

    • As requested, assist states with mass evacuations

    • Assist in inspecting damages, identifying community needs, and coordinating recovery cost estimates.

    These vital services provided by FEMA Corps members help with the recovery time for individuals, families and communities following the initial impact of a disaster which sometimes can span up to three years or more.

    The FEMA Corps members will be deployed to FEMA at all times and all assignments will be associated with the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended. These members will not deploy to projects in the same manner as the traditional NCCC program.


  • How will FEMA Corps teams be deployed for a FEMA assignment?

    CNCS will deploy FEMA Corps members in teams directly in response to FEMA requests for deployment and in accordance with NCCC procedures. FEMA Corps members will serve on work assignments from FEMA. FEMA Corps Team Leaders will be responsible for the supervision of FEMA Corps members on FEMA assignments.


  • How will FEMA Corps be marketed to the public?

    FEMA Corps is marketed as a division within AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).


  • What are the qualifications for FEMA Corps members?

    FEMA Corps members will:

    • Work collaboratively in a team-based environment, which includes considering team needs and values at all times.

    • Interact with others in a professional manner.

    • Express one’s needs and be supportive to the needs of others.

    • Develop respectful relationships with other people from diverse backgrounds.

    • Manage and cope effectively in high-stress environments.

    • Engage in effective conflict resolution and problem solving which includes the appropriate management of anger.


  • How will the FEMA Corps members obtain the skills and expertise to perform FEMA Corps assignments?

    NCCC and FEMA will provide the training, experience, and educational opportunities to prepare thousands of FEMA Corps members with the skills needed to do the service with FEMA. This national service experience will also help prepare FEMA Corps members for possible careers in emergency management and related fields well beyond their term of service.


  • Will this partnership duplicate existing services that the NCCC and FEMA already provide?

    No. For FEMA this partnership will augment the existing Reservist program. For CNCS and the NCCC, the level of engagement within the disaster services area will increase. The 1,600-member program will not duplicate the important relief and recovery work already performed by the current NCCC program and AmeriCorps grantees through FEMA mission assignments and requests from community agencies. Members participating in the FEMA-funded FEMA Corps program will focus their efforts on tasks not currently part of the NCCC portfolio of service.


  • Is a FEMA Corps member’s work assignment considered a job for FEMA?

    No. A FEMA Corps member is a national service participant and CNCS will deploy FEMA Corps teams in response to FEMA’s needs. FEMA will reinforce its current disaster workforce through the funding of this national service program. This program and partnership will strengthen and augment FEMA’s existing workforce. FEMA has a cadre of Reservists which FEMA will continue to call upon. The NCCC members will complement them.


  • How will the FEMA partnership impact the traditional NCCC program?

    It will complement and expand the NCCC engagement in communities across the country by partnering through FEMA with community organizations and providing immediate assistance after a disaster strikes. It will also increase by 1,600 members and provide the opportunity for young Americans to serve their fellow citizens.

    Any national, community, and faith-based non-profit organization, municipal and state government, federal agency or program, city, state and national park, or school throughout the United States and US territories can still apply to receive AmeriCorps NCCC resources. Traditional NCCC teams will continue to serve communities in the areas of infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, urban and rural development and natural and other disasters. Interested organizations can learn more about becoming an AmeriCorps NCCC project sponsor on the AmeriCorps NCCC page.


  • Will FEMA Corps impact the funding of State Commissions, CNCS grantees, or other non-profit organizations?

    All funding for the FEMA Corps comes directly from FEMA. This partnership does not take any funding away from Commissions, CNCS grantees, or other non-profit organizations. These entities will continue to be involved in disasters through the Mission Assignments and Cooperative Agreements through the CNCS Disaster Services Unit.


  • How can organizations and agencies request the FEMA Corps resource?

    FEMA is the only project sponsor for FEMA Corps and all service projects and work assignments will come directly from FEMA. FEMA Corps members, led by their team leaders, will at all times, work on tasks assigned and overseen by FEMA and will not be deployable in the same manner of the traditional NCCC program. The FEMA Corps members will be engaged in specific technical tasks, and deviations from these tasks will be allowed on a very limited basis only after all traditional resources have been exhausted.


  • How can a young person apply to be a FEMA Corps Member?

    The age requirement for FEMA Corps members is between 18-24 years. Applicants will apply for this summer’s first FEMA Corps term through the standard NCCC Fall 2012 application. Applicants will need to create an application through the My AmeriCorps website and then submit that application to the NCCC Fall 2012 listing. Once an application has been submitted, within 7- 10 business days, an acknowledgement packet will be in the mail with information regarding the next steps.

Applicants and Members - Answers




  • What is AmeriCorps NCCC?

    AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a residential, team-based, national service program that engages young adults ages 18 to 24 in full-time service. Operated directly by the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps NCCC is part of a national network of service programs that help local communities address their compelling needs.


  • What is the AmeriCorps NCCC mission?

    The AmeriCorps NCCC mission is: To strengthen communities and develop leaders through team-based national and community service.


  • What do AmeriCorps NCCC members do?

    AmeriCorps NCCC members perform team-based service projects in five different areas-- natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development-in communities in all 50 states and U.S. territories.


  • What organizations does NCCC support?

    NCCC supports faith-based and other community-based organizations; national nonprofits; schools; local municipalities; state governments; federal agencies; national and state parks; and Indian tribes.


  • What do the health benefits cover?

    Members are covered by the AmeriCorps NCCC Health Benefits Program managed by Seven Corners. The health benefits plan covers routine as well as emergency care during service and some pharmacy needs. The plan does not cover medical care for pre-existing medical illnesses and/or injuries. For more information, please visit their website at http://americorps.sevencorners.com/.


  • Can married couples serve in NCCC?

    NCCC accepts married couples. Married members can serve on the same campus but will not serve on the same team. If the campus facility permits, they will room together on campus but are unable to room together while on spikes.


  • Can I bring my child/children with me to the campus?

    Children are not permitted to live with members at the campus. AmeriCorps NCCC members with children must make arrangements for someone to care for their child/children while they are in the program. Members that have custody of their children are eligible for up to $400 per month to help pay for child care while they serve with the program.


  • What are the minimum requirements for participation in AmeriCorps NCCC?

    NCCC members must meet the age requirement of 18-24 and be able to provide documentation of their status as a US citizen, national or lawful permanent resident alien. Members must be able to serve effectively with a team of individuals from and within communities of diverse cultural, ethnic, economic, geographic, and education backgrounds. They must comply with the rules and regulations outlined in the AmeriCorps NCCC member handbook. Members must be able to perform physical labor, sometimes in stressful environments and adverse weather conditions. They must be willing to serve long hours beyond the eight-hour workday, deploy to any location in the region served by the campus, and be able to deal with sudden and unexpected changes. At times members may be deployed to locations outside of their region for special initiatives or in the event of a disaster.


  • What is required to successfully complete the program and receive the AmeriCorps Education Award?

    Members must serve the full ten months and complete 1,700 hours of community service, including 80 hours of independent service. If a member departs the program early, he or she forfeits the education award unless there is a compelling reason, in which case the education award is pro-rated. Details are explained in the member handbook.


  • Where are AmeriCorps NCCC campuses?

    There are currently five campuses that serve five regions, located in Denver, Colorado; Perry Point, Maryland; Sacramento, California; Vicksburg, MS; and Vinton, Iowa.


  • When do the AmeriCorps NCCC campuses open?

    NCCC has two program cycles: the fall and winter. The fall cycle campuses typically open in late September / early October. The winter cycle campuses typically open in late January / early February.


  • What states are covered by each region?
    • Atlantic Region: CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, PR, RI, USVI, VT
    • Southwest Region: AR, AZ, CO, KS, MO, NM, OK, TX
    • Pacific Region: AK, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY, Pacific Territories
    • North Central Region: IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI
    • Southern Region: AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV

  • What are the application deadline dates for members?

    There are two deadline dates, one for the fall cycle (which typically falls on April 1st) and one for the winter cycle (which typically falls on October 1st). However, members are encouraged to apply early, because selection is continuous and the class may be filled before the application deadline date. Sometimes these deadlines may be extended. Please refer to My AmeriCorps for accurate listings.


  • What are the application deadline dates for team leaders?

    For Team Leaders, the application deadline for the fall cycle is typically March 1st and for the winter the application deadline is typically September 1st. However, members are encouraged to apply early, because selection is continuous and the class may be filled before the application deadline date. Please refer to My AmeriCorps for accurate listings.


  • What are the selection process and criteria?

    All eligible applicants will receive an acknowledgement letter and further information about the program within three weeks of submitting their application. They will be instructed to call a toll-free telephone number to continue the selection process. At this point the applicant will be screened for an interview based on his or her response to several questions about the applicant's willingness to participate in all aspects of the program. All applicants who successfully clear the interview screening are scheduled for a phone interview within five to six weeks of receipt of their application.

    • If invited to serve or placed on the wait list, the applicant will have to respond within 10 days of receiving the letter by returning the confirmation form, a completed medical history form, and fingerprint card in a stamped, addressed envelope that is provided in the mailing.
    • If an applicant has not responded by the date identified, the applicant will be disqualified and ineligible for service with the NCCC for the specific term of service that their application was submitted to.

  • How long is the selection process or how long will it take before I find out the status of my application?

    Our goal is to complete the selection process within two months of receiving the application. This means that two months after we receive an application, the applicant should know if he or she has been accepted, placed on the wait list or not accepted. However, there are many instances when it may take longer than two months.


  • What is the ratio of applicants who actually get in?

    Member selection is a competitive process. The ratio of applicants that are accepted varies depending on the number of applications received.


  • If I am assigned to the wait list, what is the probability that I will be invited to serve?

    This is a random selection process ultimately based on when a spot becomes available or if a member declines a position. Individuals assigned to the waitlist will be randomly selected and placed as spots become available.


  • How long is the interview?

    An interview generally lasts between 30 to 45 minutes. The timing depends on how you respond to the questions.


  • Once the interview is completed, when will I be notified of my status?

    The applicant is notified of the status of their interview within three to four weeks at minimum after completing the interview.


  • What questions will be asked during the interview and how should I prepare for the interview?

    The questions will focus on things that will help us determine your interest and willingness to serve in a residential, team-based service program, flexibility and adaptability, collaboration and accountability and your personal goals. You can prepare for the interview by finding out as much as possible about the NCCC program. You should respond to the interview questions sincerely and honestly.


  • Will it be a group interview or one on one interview?

    All interviews are conducted by telephone one on one with an NCCC staff member.


  • Can I serve with a friend?

    No. NCCC does not allow members to serve with a friend. Since selection into the program is random there is no guarantee that both applicants will be selected.


  • Can I pick the campus that I want to go to?

    No. Campuses are assigned randomly.


  • Can a person with a criminal background serve in the NCCC?

    It depends on the offense. If someone has been found guilty of certain felonious criminal acts (i.e. acts of violence) he or she would probably not be eligible for the NCCC program. Anyone who is on the National Sex Offender Registry is ineligible for service in this program.


  • Can I select my projects?

    No. Projects are developed by staff and assigned to teams.


  • Will I be able to develop any projects?

    All members have a requirement to complete 80 independent service hours (included in the total 1,700 hour requirement). These are projects that members can develop and execute on their own.


  • Can the 80 independent hours be completed in my home state during my vacation or other leave time?

    Yes, members may perform independent service projects while on leave as long as the ISP activities have been approved by staff in advance. The standard ISP uniform policy applies.


  • How many projects will each team do?

    Each team will perform between four and six projects during the program year.


  • Will I do a project in each of the service areas?

    The NCCC will make every effort to provide teams with a wide range of project experiences, but there is no guarantee that a team will complete a project in every service area.


  • What does "spike" mean?

    A spike is a project that requires the team to establish temporary housing in the community where the project is being conducted because it is too far from the campus to travel to and from every day. Spike accommodations have included camping, military facilities, youth hostels, cabins, private residences, dormitories, etc. The team will live in that community for the duration of the project in whatever facilities that are provided.


  • How do teams get to project sites?

    Teams travel to the project site in a 15-passenger van. Some team members will be certified as drivers. Certified drivers must attend a driver’s class and take a driver’s test at the campus. These are the only members who will be permitted to drive the NCCC vehicles.


  • Will I automatically be assigned to fire fighting?

    No. All members receive basic disaster relief training like CPR and first aid, but members must qualify for fire fighting training by successfully completing an endurance test.


  • Is it possible to receive college credit for participating in AmeriCorps?

    Yes, we currently offer undergraduate credit for the following courses: Diversity in Service (3 credit hours) and Supervisory Skills (3 credit hours). Team Leaders can pursue credit in both courses whereas Members are only eligible to pursue credit in the Diversity in Service course. Both courses require classroom and fieldwork throughout the year of service culminating with a final exam.


  • If I don’t have my high school diploma, will the NCCC help me get my GED?

    Yes. All members will develop an individual learning plan at the beginning of the year that outlines their personal learning goals while they are in the program. NCCC staff will then help the member develop a plan to achieve those personal learning goals, including getting a GED.


  • What skills will I learn while in the program?

    Members will receive a variety of training and learn different skills through the service projects they perform. All members receive CPR/First Aid and Disaster Relief certification training from the Red Cross. They learn leadership skills, conflict management, team-building, community building, and many practical skills through formal and informal learning environments. Service learning is a priority for NCCC and is part of the member’s entire term of service.


  • Are there other activities that will support my educational or personal development while in the program?

    Members participate in service-learning activities that are designed to increase their understanding of the service they do, the communities where they serve, and the importance of civic responsibility. Examples of service-learning activities include doing research about a project that a team will do, participating in structured reflection sessions and keeping a journal about the NCCC experience, and developing a service project portfolio at the conclusion of each project. This service project portfolio is the written record of the service experience and summarizes the project activities, members’ experiences, and what was accomplished.


  • Are members required to take a drug test?

    Yes. AmeriCorps NCCC is a drug-free environment. All members are tested during the first week of reporting to the campus and randomly throughout the program year. Members who test positive for illegal drugs are dismissed from the program.


  • What are members' service hours?

    Service hours are set by the particular project to which the team has been assigned; therefore they may vary. They can range from serving three weeks straight for 12 to 14 hours a day (such as disaster relief work or fire fighting, where the need is great) to serving hours that resemble more of a regular work week (Monday to Friday or Tuesday to Saturday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM).


  • Will I have free time to do other things besides NCCC?

    Yes. Whenever members are not at the project site or performing other NCCC-related activities they will have free time.


  • Is there a way I can talk with someone who has already served?

    You can contact us at anccc@cns.gov, or call us at 1-800-942-2677, and we will help you make a connection with someone who is an alumnus or is currently serving.


  • How can I best prepare for the NCCC?

    Members should be ready to live and serve in a community setting with a highly diverse group of people. There will be rules and regulations to follow. Flexibility, initiative, and an open mind are key to having a successful AmeriCorps NCCC experience.


  • If accepted to the program will I have to pay for my transportation to the campus?

    AmeriCorps NCCC will pay for your transportation to the campus from your home of record and back home when you have completed the program or at whatever time you exit the program if you do not complete it. NCCC does not cover the cost for personal/vacation travel on breaks or leave.


  • Do AmeriCorps NCCC members wear uniforms?

    Yes. You are required to wear a uniform. Uniforms are issued to members when they report to the campus. The uniform colors are gray, black, and khaki. At a minimum, all members will receive the following items:

    1. BDU (battle dress uniform) pants--black & khaki
    2. Khaki shorts
    3. T-shirts (short and long-sleeve)
    4. Polo shirts (short and long-sleeve)
    5. Hooded sweatshirt
    6. Winter parka
    7. Steel-toed work boots
    8. Baseball cap
    9. Bandanna
    10. Fleece vest
    11. Coveralls

    Other uniform items may also be provided depending on the campus where you are assigned.


  • When do members wear uniforms?

    Uniforms must be worn at all times when on duty. Duty times include all service days, training days, team, unit and community meetings, and while on administrative or driver duty or any other time when representing AmeriCorps NCCC.


  • Can I bring my pets and personal items like my cell phone and computer?

    Pets are strictly prohibited. You may bring your cell phone and your computer; however you will be responsible for the safekeeping of these items. Each campus has a computer lab for members and there are pay phones in the residence halls or dormitories where members live.


  • Can I bring my car to the campus?

    This depends upon your campus assignment. Some campuses allow personal vehicles, while others do not. This information will be clarified in the campus-specific information provided to applicants who are invited to campus and successfully complete medical and legal clearances. Even at campuses that allow personal vehicles, however, you will not be allowed to take your car with you when you go on a spike project.


  • Can my parents visit me at the campus, if I am selected to serve?

    Yes, but they cannot stay on the campus. They would have to stay in a hotel or with friends/family off the campus.


  • What kind of supervision is there at the campus?

    Each campus is fully staffed and led by a region director. Members, assigned to teams, report directly to a team leader, and teams are assigned to a unit that is lead by a unit leader. The unit leader is directly responsible for the safety and well-being of the members in his or her unit.


  • What breaks or vacations do I get?

    Members who attend the fall cycle will have a winter break that starts at the end of the year just before Christmas and goes through the New Year. Members who attend the winter cycle will have a summer break. There is also a spring break that is usually a long weekend (Friday and Monday off) that will occur sometime in April or May depending on the campus. Members may also be off on certain other holidays such as Thanksgiving, Labor Day, and Memorial Day. All breaks are subject to the campus schedule.

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