President Announces New AmeriCorps Partnerships to Expand Opportunities to Youth

Washington, DC - As part of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, President Obama announced new AmeriCorps partnerships with federal agencies and the private sector to connect young people to mentoring, support networks and job skills to help them reach their full potential.

Monday’s announcement altogether represents a total of $24 million in investments in national service.   The Departments of Justice and Agriculture (USDA) are joining with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to launch new AmeriCorps programs and partnerships that total up to $14 million over three years.  Private sector commitments from AT&T and Citi Foundation will support additional AmeriCorps service opportunities that provide young people with skills and supports to successfully enter the workforce.   

“America’s future will be defined, and our progress determined, by the doors we open and the support we offer to young people across the nation,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “My Brother’s Keeper, and innovative initiatives like this one, must be a central part of this work.  By involving young people in service projects and offering them the benefits of mentorship – through programs like AmeriCorps – we can help our kids mature into responsible, confident, and productive young adults.  And we can do our part to ensure that every child, from every background, has the tools they need to learn, to grow, to thrive – and to lead.”  

CNCS and the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) are jointly funding Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps .   The program, which totals up to $10 million over three years, will enroll disconnected youth in national service programs as AmeriCorps members.  It includes a mentorship component that will provide critical mentoring support to the AmeriCorps members.  

USDA and CNCS have joined in a landmark new partnership between AmeriCorps and the USDA’s Forest Service that connects youth and veterans with service opportunities to restore the nation’s forests and grasslands.   The $3.8 million in joint funding will provide resources for both AmeriCorps grantees and member organizations of the 21 st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), and will also provide for 300 new AmeriCorps members serving in U.S. forests and grasslands.   

The commitments announced today support the My Brother’s Keeper initiative by increasing entry-level job, mentorship and apprenticeship options for all young people, including boys and young men of color.  They also advance the goals of the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service , which calls for new public-private partnerships that use national service to help solve our nation’s most pressing challenges.  

“As a nation, there is much more we can do to help our young people stay on track and reach their full potential in life,” said CEO of CNCS Wendy Spencer.  “AmeriCorps is a proven pathway to opportunity that provides skills, leadership, and college support for young people.  We are thrilled to join with our federal and corporate partners to launch new AmeriCorps programs that will put hundreds of young people on a path to success in school and life.”  

“This landmark partnership between the Forest Service and USDA with AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service provides youth and veterans with new job skills while helping to restore America's forests and grasslands,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.   “The administration's continued support for the 21 st Century Conservation Service Corps furthers President Obama's goals of expanding economic opportunity, creating new ways to engage in service projects, and reconnecting Americans to the great outdoors.”  

In addition to new federal partnerships, the White House announced additional AmeriCorps commitments from the private sector to support the goals of My Brother’s Keeper.  AT&T is launching the Aspire Mentoring Academy Corps , powered by AmeriCorps, AT&T and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.  The program will engage AmeriCorps members in regions around the country and engage thousands of youth from underserved communities in mentoring activities.   

“Research shows that the presence of a mentor in a young person’s life significantly improves their potential for success,” said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson.   “That’s why I and many of our employees are currently mentoring students across the country.”  

Citi Foundation is making a three-year, $10 million commitment to create ServiceWorks , a groundbreaking national program powered by AmeriCorps and Points of Light that uses volunteer service to help 25,000 young people in 10 cities across the United States develop the skills they need to prepare for college and careers.  The program, which will deploy 225 AmeriCorps VISTA members over three years, will engage youth ages 16-24 in service and build a large-scale volunteer response to the crisis of low college and career attainment.   The young people will receive training in critical 21 st century leadership and workplace skills, the chance to build their networks and connections to their communities, and the opportunity to use their new skills by participating in and leading volunteer service projects.  

AmeriCorps members serving in these programs, most of whom will be youth from underserved communities, will earn education scholarships to help pay for college or repay their student loans – putting them on track for greater economic opportunity in the future.  

On Feb. 27, 2014, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.  The president’s My Brother’s Keeper Federal Task Force released a 90-day report on May 30, which identified starting points for what will be an enduring effort at improving the life outcomes for our youth, including boys and young men of color. 

As part of this effort, CNCS joined joining with other federal agencies and nonprofit organizations to launch a campaign to recruit individuals to serve as mentors to boys and young men of color across the country.  The United We Serve website includes a database of mentoring opportunities searchable by zip code.

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