DENVER – Nearly 200 young adults from across the nation will be sworn in as members of FEMA Corps at an induction ceremony tomorrow, providing a boost to the nation’s ability to assist disaster survivors while expanding career opportunities for young people. This is the first class of FEMA Corps members to be trained in and based out of Denver.
FEMA Corps, which launched in fall 2012, is an innovative partnership between two federal agencies that combines the disaster expertise of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the service leadership of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and AmeriCorps.
Following a record-breaking year for federally declared disasters in 2011, FEMA Corps was created to enhance the nation’s disaster response and recovery capacity, increase the reliability of the disaster workforce, and provide a pathway for young people to enter the emergency management profession. Established as a new unit within the existing AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), FEMA Corps engages young adults ages 18 to 24 to provide 10 months of full-time service on disaster response and recovery projects.
The 188 FEMA Corps members being inducted at AmeriCorps NCCC’s Denver campus join a similar-sized class sworn in earlier this week in Sacramento, Calif., and nearly 400 FEMA Corps members who began their service last fall.
Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor Joseph A. Garcia, FEMA Acting Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery Beth Zimmerman, and AmeriCorps NCCC National Director Kate Raftery will participate in the induction ceremony in Denver to thank members for their commitment and challenge them for the important work ahead.
“These incredible young people can have a real impact on the lives of disaster survivors,” said FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino. “I’ve seen it firsthand. FEMA Corps members dedicated thousands of hours supporting the response and recovery efforts of Superstorm Sandy, assisting communities affected by this storm. Today’s inductees will join the nearly 400 members of the inaugural class, further building on this exceptional program. I commend and thank every member of this FEMA Corps class for their dedication to helping communities in need.”
“I commend you for answering the call to serve and making a difference for people and communities in need,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps. “As part of the first FEMA Corps class, you are helping write a new chapter in the history of national service. You will bring much-needed hope and assistance to disasters survivors. As you help others, this year will help you – giving you skills, expanding your opportunities, and setting you on a lifelong path of service to others.”
“We’re happy that Colorado, which houses one of just five AmeriCorps NCCC regional hubs in the nation, has the opportunity to host the new FEMA Corps program,” said Colorado Lieutenant Governor Joseph A. Garcia.“While FEMA Corps teams will deploy nationwide wherever they are most needed by communities facing the aftermath of disaster, we’ll be proud to know that these FEMA Corps members receive training and support right here in Denver.”
Friday’s induction ceremony marks the end of one month of AmeriCorps NCCC training and the start of two weeks of FEMA position-specific training in New Mexico. After completing training, members will deploy on March 28 to their first assignments, which can range from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovery centers to sharing disaster response and mitigation information with the public. FEMA Corps will supplement FEMA’s existing Reservist workforce in assisting citizens and communities who have been impacted by disasters.
Some teams are expected to deploy to the Northeast to assist with continued response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Sandy. All 42 FEMA Corps teams that started last fall deployed to New York and New Jersey immediately after Hurricane Sandy and have provided vital support to disaster survivors. In the first 10 weeks, FEMA Corps members conducted more than 11,700 case reviews, collected or distributed more than 400,000 gallons of water, distributed more than 14,000 education materials or preparedness kits, answered more than 4,500 FEMA registration or helpline calls, and assisted more than 261,000 disaster survivors.
After completing 1,700 hour of service, FEMA Corps members will receive a $5,550 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for college tuition or pay student loans. Members will gain significant training and experience in disaster services that can serve as a pathway to employment in the emergency management profession.
FEMA Corps members are currently based out of four AmeriCorps NCCC campuses across the country: Sacramento, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Vinton, Iowa; and, Vicksburg, Miss.