SCA AmeriCorps and the Education Award
SCA AmeriCorps and the Education Award
SCA receives a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to administer an AmeriCorps Education Award program for our members. Under this grant our partners can set up their positions as AmeriCorps-eligible and selected interns will have the opportunity to become AmeriCorps members and receive an AmeriCorps Education Award after the successful completion of their service.
Please note that the SCA AmeriCorps Education Award Program is a grant program contingent upon federal funding. SCA receives a set number of spots in the AmeriCorps program each year, and sometimes our numbers exceed the program spots made available to us.
HOW THE SCA AMERICORPS PROGRAM WORKS
1. Partner submits a position request that meets AmeriCorps eligibility requirements and criteria.
2. If allotments are available, the selected SCA intern will be able to apply to be an AmeriCorps member.
3. The intern and the partner complete additional requirements during the position (details below).
4. Upon successful completion of their service and related requirements, the member receives an AmeriCorps Education Award in recognition of their AmeriCorps service with SCA.
Overseen by the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps is a network of organizations that offer opportunities for people to dedicate themselves to a period of long-term service by tutoring and mentoring youth, building affordable housing, cleaning parks and streams, and recruiting, training, and managing community volunteers. In return, AmeriCorps members receive funds they can use for education.
AMERICORPS EDUCATION AWARD
The AmeriCorps Education Award is a fund that SCA AmeriCorps members can utilize for qualified loans, courses, and secondary education expenses after successfully completing their term of AmeriCorps service. Members are able to use this award for up to 7 years after receiving it.
Upon selection for a position, members are offered an education award relative to their length of service. Members who choose to enroll in AmeriCorps sign an AmeriCorps Member Service Agreement confirming that they will complete both their term of service and their minimum required hours.
AMERICORPS EXPECTATIONS FOR HOST SITE PARTNERS
While members are responsible for completing most AmeriCorps requirements, there are a few requirements for partners who participate in the program. Our relationship with AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service is an important aspect of our Conservation Internship and Corps Program design and we appreciate your support in reaching our compliance and evaluation requirements.
As a partner for an SCA AmeriCorps member, please make sure you are willing to:
- Set up your position’s duties and activities to be AmeriCorps-eligible. As a federal program, AmeriCorps has specific requirements and prohibited activities. If you choose to make these expectations a part of your position, your position will be “AmeriCorps-eligible”.
- Complete the SCA AmeriCorps Site Agreement once per year. This agreement outlines the expectations for partners. More information is available here. Please complete the form electronically and email it to [email protected] before your SCA member begins their position.
- Participate in the SCA AmeriCorps webinar training once per year. SCA will email you a link to this 18-minute orientation video when you have a current position that is AmeriCorps-eligible. However, you can complete this requirement anytime below and please email [email protected] when you have done so.
- Approve your member’s time logs. Members will complete and submit two types of logs, Activity and Output, to record the hours served and the type/ amount of duties completed. You will approve these logs online in your MySCA Partner Portal.
- Verify that member service hours do not include prohibited activities. Members are not allowed to be involved with AmeriCorps prohibited activities. See below for a complete list. Members may participate in these activities as private citizens on non-SCA/AmeriCorps time and should not identify with the SCA AmeriCorps program.
- Complete mid-term and end of term evaluations. Mid-term and end-of-term evaluations must be completed for all SCA members and can affect a member’s future eligibility for AmeriCorps positions nationwide.
- Support members to complete their service commitment and minimum hours. Except in compelling personal circumstances (outlined below), members who leave the program early forfeit their education award. Leaving a position early for a paid job is not considered an acceptable reason, and he member will forfeit the education award. Please encourage members to complete their volunteer service commitment and advise members on what constitutes “compelling personal circumstances.”
- Support members who desire to attend national service events locally. Periodically throughout the year there may be AmeriCorps-sponsored events in your state or region. Members are encouraged to attend if their schedule allows. These hours can be recorded on their AmeriCorps timesheets under “Training/Education”.
AMERICORPS GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
SCA has an informal and formal grievance procedure for SCA AmeriCorps members and external individuals who bring grievances to the SCA AmeriCorps program. You are welcome to contact SCA’s Human Resource staff directly to raise questions or concerns (703.524.2441)
AMERICORPS PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES
SCA is committed to ensuring that all partners and members are knowledgeable of the activities prohibited by AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps prohibited activities include: money-handling of any kind, attempting to influence legislation or election to public office; organizing or engaging in boycotts, strikes, petitions, or protests; assisting or deterring union organizing; engaging in any form of religious proselytization; assisting in voter registration drives or abortion services; writing grant applications; or providing a direct benefit to a for-profit business, labor union, partisan political organization, or religious organization. Members are welcome to engage in any of these activities as a private citizen on their own time, while not sporting the AmeriCorps logo on their clothing or gear.
COMPELLING PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Compelling Personal Circumstances that allow for a member to receive a pro-rated education award may include:
- Member has a serious injury or illness that makes completing the term impossible;
- Serious injury, illness or death of an immediate family member and the member is needed to care for that family member or take over the duties of the family member;
- Member is drafted by the Armed Services of the United States; or
- Circumstance that occurs which makes it impossible or very diﬃcult for the member to complete the Term of Service and the Program deems that circumstance to be compelling.
- Unforeseen termination of the service project by the host site.
- COVID-19 affecting service
Compelling Personal Circumstances DO NOT include:
- To enroll in school;
- To obtain employment;
- Because of dissatisfaction with the program.
Please contact your Conservation Program Coordinator for questions about the SCA AmeriCorps program.