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Applicants and Members - Answers

  • What is FEMA Corps?

    FEMA Corps is an exciting partnership between The Corporation for National and Community Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, created in 2012, that establishes a new track of 1,600 service Corps Members within AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) dedicated to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Just like current AmeriCorps NCCC members, FEMA Corps Members serve a 10 month term and are eligible to serve a second year based on their performance.

    Also like NCCC, FEMA Corps is a full-time, team-based residential service program for men and women age 18–24 operated under the same campus structure as AmeriCorps NCCC. FEMA Corps Members are assigned to one of five NCCC campuses, located in Denver, Colorado; Sacramento, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Vinton, Iowa. AmeriCorps NCCC and 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.

  • What types of service projects will I be doing?

    The projects on which FEMA Corps teams serve vary depending on where the need is, but some examples of what teams have done in the past include:

    • Helping survivors complete applications for disaster assistance
    • Assessing and reporting damage to public facilities
    • Educating communities, assessing needs, and collecting information
    • Procuring materials, tracking inventory, loading supplies, and managing IT equipment
    • Developing promotional public disaster preparedness materials
    • Updating electronic files, managing data, and compiling reports
    • Coordinating disaster survivor services by partnering with nonprofits and government agencies

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

    The AmeriCorps NCCC program focuses on 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 non-profits—secular and faith based, local municipalities, state governments, the federal government, national or state parks, Indian Tribes and schools—members complete service projects throughout the campus region they are assigned.

    FEMA Corps Members will solely focus on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery activities with FEMA, for the full 10 months of their service term. While members primarily support their campus region, disaster relief efforts are based on community needs and members may have the opportunity to serve in other regions. Members will be dedicated to FEMA deployments in areas of logistics, disaster survivor assistance, 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 preparedness and mitigation information with the public.

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

    Yes. Since it remains one of NCCC’s main project focus areas, we have a commitment to work related to disaster preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery. The traditional NCCC track will still work directly with the American Red Cross, state commissions, non-profits, 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?

    Unfortunately 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. So 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.

  • May an individual serve in AmeriCorps NCCC if he or she has used, or is currently using, illegal drugs?

    AmeriCorps NCCC is a drug-free environment. All members are tested within 14 days of reporting to the campus and randomly throughout the program year. Members may also be tested when the Region Director determines that there is reasonable suspicion to do so.  Dismissal proceedings will be held for Members who test positive for illegal drugs. 

  • Can I join if I'm not a U.S. citizen?

    FEMA Corps members must be U.S. citizens.  If you are not, please consider joining our Traditional AmeriCorps NCCC program, in which you can serve if you are a U.S. citizen, national, or legal permanent resident alien of the U.S.

  • Does AmeriCorps NCCC screen applicants for criminal history or other issues?

    Yes, the criminal history of all AmeriCorps NCCC applicants – both traditional and NCCC-FEMA Corps – is reviewed. AmeriCorps NCCC does not allow any member to serve who has been convicted of murder or who is listed, or who is required to be listed on, the National Sex Offender Public Website. For all other convictions, AmeriCorps NCCC will evaluate whether or not to clear an applicant for service on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, NCCC-FEMA Corps applicants will undergo additional screening, to include a FEMA pre-screening process and a federal background investigation. FEMA’s process includes a review of whether an individual is in default on any debt and an individual’s history of illegal drug use, if any. 

  • How is the screening procedure different for NCCC-FEMA Corps?

    The FEMA screening procedure has two components – a prescreening process and a federal background investigation. All NCCC-FEMA Corps applicants will be pre-screened, and only those who have a favorable pre-screening result will be eligible to be members. Once an applicant becomes a member, a federal background investigation will be conducted. Members will be asked many questions about their past, including where they worked, went to school, and lived. Members are also asked about illegal drug use, criminal activity, and reasons for leaving jobs. The preliminary questions members will be asked during the federal background investigation are available here: 

  • Do all NCCC-FEMA Corps members undergo a federal background investigation?

    Yes, in addition to the pre-screening, all NCCC-FEMA Corps members will undergo a federal background investigation. The purpose of the investigation is to ensure that every member serving in a position of public trust is responsible and trustworthy. The investigation is conducted on behalf of FEMA by the Office of Personnel Management. Having passed a federal background investigation may benefit members after they graduate, if they are interested in a career in the federal service.

  • What happens if I provide incorrect information during my federal background investigation?

    Be honest. Intentional dishonesty during the investigative process may result in an unfavorable determination and prevent continued participation in NCCC-FEMA Corps. With rare exception, each member will have an in-person interview with an investigator. It will be an opportunity to provide clarifying information regarding a member’s responses to questions on the investigative questionnaire.

    Additionally, if FEMA determines that an issue identified during the background investigation prevents a member’s continued participation in NCCC-FEMA Corps, the member will be given an opportunity to respond to the stated reasons for the determination. The member will be sent a letter from FEMA explaining the basis for the unsuitability, and the member will have 30 days to respond. FEMA will then make a final determination. If FEMA determines that an identified issue creates a high risk for continued access to its facilities and IT systems, then the member may have his or her service discontinued without a 30-day period to respond. Very few members have been prevented from serving in NCCC-FEMA Corps due to something in their background. 

  • How will illegal drug use affect my federal background investigation for NCCC-FEMA Corps?

    A recent history of illegal drug use may prevent an individual from successfully completing a term of service with NCCC-FEMA Corps. In making a suitability determination, FEMA considers the circumstances of use, the frequency of use, and the amount of time that has passed since the last use of any illegal drug use. Because NCCC-FEMA Corps members are provided access to sensitive information, FEMA does not permit members to use its facilities and systems if they do not pass the background investigation. Use of illegal drugs is a criminal act and engaging in any criminal activity is a factor considered in making a determination regarding an individual’s suitability for access to sensitive information.

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.

  • 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.

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