Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced an innovative new partnership designed to continue to strengthen the nation's ability to respond to and recover from disasters while expanding career opportunities for young people.
FEMA Corps is a historic collaboration which will create a new unit of AmeriCorps' National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) whose members will be devoted solely to FEMA disaster response, and recovery efforts. The five-year agreement provides for a full service corps of 1,600 members annually who will be an additional workforce in support of FEMA's current disaster reserve workforce.
“The initiative we're launching today underscores our commitment to shared responsibility and strong partnerships to help communities across the United States more effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters of all kinds,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This new partnership will help us respond to disasters in a way that is cost-effective, and that draws on the strengths of our communities and our people.”
This new effort will promote an ethic of national service and civic engagement by mobilizing corps members and community volunteers to provide critical disaster services. Once trained by FEMA and CNCS, members will provide support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovering centers to sharing valuable disaster preparedness and mitigation information with the public. The first members will begin serving in August 2012 and the program will reach full capacity within 18 months.
“This new partnership is important for many reasons but none more important than the positive impact it will have on disaster survivors,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “FEMA Corps will strengthen the nation's disaster response by providing a dedicated, trained and reliable workforce—to support disaster survivors and impacted communities during their greatest time of need. At the same time, we hope to inspire a generation of young people to take up careers in emergency management.”
“By opening up new pathways in emergency management, this partnership will give thousands of young people the opportunity to serve their country and gain the skills and training they need to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service Robert Velasco. “This is a historic new chapter in the history of national service that will enhance our nation's disaster capabilities and promote an ethic of national service while achieving significant cost savings for the taxpayer.”
The NCCC members will strengthen the Nation's disaster response capacity and increase diversity of the disaster workforce, while providing educational and economic opportunities for young people as they consider their future careers. FEMA Corps members will serve for a 10 month term with an option to extend for a second year. The program will prepare thousands of young people for careers in emergency management and related fields. During their service, they will gain significant training and experience in disaster services and will provide important support to disaster survivors.
“President Obama has made it clear that government alone can't solve all our problems,” said Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz. “But government has a vital role to play and the program we're announcing today is a perfect example of a government that's leaner, more efficient, and making a difference in people's lives.”
“This new partnership between FEMA and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will be crucial in supporting cities, counties and states in their time of need,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox. “I commend FEMA and CNCS for understanding that to effectively respond during a crisis, we have to extend beyond political, geographical and even bureaucratic boundaries to ensure all resources are made available to the citizens we serve.”
While strengthening the nation's disaster response capacity with a trained and reliable resource, this initiative will achieve significant cost savings for taxpayers. When the program is at full operational capability, and in an average disaster year, the initiative is expected to see a savings of approximately $60 million in a year. Moreover, as a partnership between CNCS and FEMA, the program represents a smart modernization of government operations. Rather than creating duplicative structures, this collaboration will advance the President's management goals of working across government, managing across sectors, and promoting efficiency.