TTA Update for Commissions and Directs - July, 2018

1. AmeriCorps State and National Update Call—The July update call will occur on Tuesday, July 10, 1:00-2:00 pm Eastern, and the call details and agenda are below. As a reminder, these are optional update calls, and commission and program staff are invited to join the call in-person or listen to the replay later this month.

July 10 Participation Details:

Call number: 888-810-4796
Participant passcode: 6031818
Replay available until 7/30: 866-505-9259

July 10 Discussion Points:

• Opening Remarks (Chester Spellman)
• ASN Announcements and Updates (Chester Spellman)
o Policy Update, Resources Shared
o Symposium: Call for Workshop Proposals, Registration
o GMM Update
o Commission Investment Funds Update
• Office of Grants Management Update (Bonnie Janicki)      
• Office of External Affairs Update (Michael Cys)
• Office of Government Relations Update (Bo Bryant)
• Audience Q&A
• Wrap-up and reminder of next call on August 7, 1:00-2:00 pm Eastern

What is the purpose of the monthly update call? CNCS offers an optional one hour call each month for all commissions and AmeriCorps State and National direct grantees to share timely announcements, review new research or resources, and answer questions. These calls originated years ago as communications calls, and they were led by the CNCS Office of External Affairs. In their current structure, the unified calls offer all grantees access to the same information and Q&A at the same time, and they include CNCS staff from several departments. To re-enforce the access to information for all of our colleagues, we record the calls and make the replay information available at the same time as the participation details are distributed.

2. 2018 AmeriCorps State and National Symposium—We look forward to seeing you at the AmeriCorps State and National Symposium coming up in September. The 2018 Symposium will be held at the Hilton Crystal City, 2399 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202, on September 12 – September 14, with pre-conference meetings on September 11 and 12. The Symposium is the required annual grantee meeting for leaders of State Service Commissions and national and tribal programs funded directly from CNCS in the 2018 AmeriCorps State and National grant competition. You can find the registration link, travel and lodging details, and a preliminary agenda-at-a-glance at this site. Please save this link, and keep an eye on the site in the weeks ahead. We will update the agenda throughout the summer and include additional logistical information and other announcements there as well. Here are the latest details on the Symposium:

a. July 11 Deadline for Call for Workshop Proposals: If you haven’t already, please submit a proposal to deliver a 90-minute workshop at the Symposium. We are especially interested in presentations on AmeriCorps member recruitment, development, and support after the service term as well as presentations on innovative AmeriCorps program designs, effective outreach strategies, and interesting research. 

b. Registration for the Symposium: Registration is now open for the 2018 AmeriCorps State and National Symposium, and you can access it here. There is no registration fee for the event. For planning purposes, it is good to know that the Symposium registration will close on Friday, August 24. Please be sure you and/or your staff register in time so that we can plan for the event accordingly.

c. Fiscal Grants Administration Pre-Symposium Training: On Wednesday, September 12, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm, the CNCS Office of Grants Management will present a pre-conference training for fiscal and program staff of new grantees, new fiscal and program staff of existing grantees, and anyone who’s looking for a comprehensive grants administration refresher. New staff and new grantees are strongly encouraged to attend. The training is called Take the Plunge: Diving In to Fiscal Grants Administration; be sure to register for it on the Symposium registration site.

The training will provide an overview of the AmeriCorps grants administration responsibilities, with a particular focus on fiscal grants management. Content will include an overview of regulations and requirements governing AmeriCorps awards, and participants will use the Uniform Guidance to determine it their organizations’ systems are adequate and if grant costs are allowable. Attendees will contrast their current practices related to internal controls, budgeting, documentation, reporting, and monitoring against those required by 2 CFR. All attendees will receive a copy of OMB’s Uniform Guidance. As a result of the training, participants will:

• Understand the purpose and content of CNCS and other federal regulations;
• Identify and improve inadequate financial systems;
• Determine the value of current policies and procedures and revise as needed, for maximum effectiveness;
• Recognize and avoid the biggest challenges related to documentation and matching resources;
• Describe the functions of an approved program budget, distinguish allowable and unallowable costs, and define the budget modification process;
• Develop a plan to ensure appropriate grant oversight; and
• Know the requirements and timeline for award closeout.

d. Orientation for First-time Attendees: If you’ve never attended the Symposium, you can take a look at last year’s agenda and presentations here to get an idea of how the event is structured and what type of content will be provided. In addition, there will be an orientation to the 2018 Symposium for first-time/new attendees on Monday, August 27, 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern. To participate in the orientation, please register here, and log on to on the day of the orientation. The orientation agenda will include an update on the full Symposium program, logistics, and recommendations to make the most of the event. The orientation will also be recorded and posted on the Knowledge Network by September 4.

e. Symposium Lodging and Travel: The Symposium will be held at the Hilton Crystal City, and a block of rooms is reserved for the event. You can find the link to the hotel reservation site as well as air, train, and local transportation details for the Symposium on the event site. Please note that the hotel room block at the Hilton will close on Wednesday, August 29—or as soon as the room block is full. Please book your room(s) as early as possible so you can access the Symposium block.

3. Upcoming Webinar for AmeriCorps Staff—The next AmeriCorps State and National training webinar will occur on Thursday, July 12, 3:00-4:30 pm Eastern, and the session will focus on conducting thorough and compliant criminal history checks for AmeriCorps program participants. This webinar will be useful for all commission and program staff who are responsible for conducting criminal history checks, training staff on the checks, and/or monitoring for compliance. This webinar will be recorded and posted on the Knowledge Network later this month.

Here are the participation details for this week’s webinar:

Title: Criminal History Checks (to be presented by the CNCS Office of the Chief Risk Officer)
Date: 7/12/18
Time: 3:00-4:30 pm Eastern

What are the purposes of the webinar? This webinar is one in a series of optional, online trainings provided to commission and program staff each year. The webinars are designed to help build organizational capacity and provide strong AmeriCorps service experiences. The content of the webinars range from broad organizational issues, like continuity planning, to more specific technical content, like completing the GPR or conducting criminal history checks. CNCS provides these sessions so commissions and directs can connect with a variety of CNCS staff and learn from their colleagues as guest speakers; guests are included in approximately 50% of the webinars. The webinar content is recorded and stored on the Knowledge Network, on the CNCS website, or in Litmos.

4. New Program Staff Orientation Webinar Now Posted—The recording for the New Program Staff Orientation webinar held on June 14, transcript, session highlights, and PowerPoint are now posted on the AmeriCorps Knowledge Network. Thank you to Natalia Lopez and Fiorella Morales of the International Rescue Committee for sharing your program practices and tips for orienting new staff at HQ and in the field on the webinar!

Please let us know if you have any questions about this update.

Thank you—and have a good week,

AmeriCorps State and National

Published Date: 
July 9, 2018
Grantee Type: 
State Commission
National Direct
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