AmeriCorps Emergency Response

Emergency Response Initiative – Summer 2021

The pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the inequalities in our communities. Beginning in June, AmeriCorps members are being deployed to help organizations and schools that need more help to serve Minnesota communities. AmeriCorps members will serve in organizations and schools to help students PreK-grade 12 and will also provide support to individuals and families facing food insecurity, homelessness, and isolation.

The need is now. COVID-19 continues to create challenges for Minnesotans. About 500 Emergency Response Initiative corps members across Minnesota are offering their time and talent to meet critical needs.

As part of the Emergency Response Initiative, members are focusing on helping support emergency relief efforts across the state including: meeting the educational needs of students, addressing food and housing insecurity, mitigating social isolation and more. Members will be placed at community organizations to serve 35 hours per week from June 7 to August 14. 

How our corps members are making a difference this summer

Academic Enrichment PreK-Grade 5

Corps members focus on academic enrichment, tutoring, and mentoring students in preschool through grade 5. Additional tasks could include supporting summer school programming, meal distribution, family resource access, and building/facilities projects related to the pandemic (i.e. setting up classrooms for distancing, additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols).

Academic Enrichment, Grades 6-12

Corps members focus on academic enrichment, tutoring, and mentoring students in grades 6-12. Additional tasks include food and resource distribution, support services for families, and volunteer coordination. 

Community Support

Emergency response-related service include a combination of several response tasks such as addressing food insecurity; housing insecurity; volunteer coordination; connecting people to community resources; resource distribution; assisting with community needs assessments; supporting services and resources for adults; social isolation mitigation; and/or communications and marketing support.

Benefits

Living Stipend

Members are paid a stipend regularly for their term of service, totaling $3,750. This stipend is taxed as income, and members complete a W-4.

Education Award

Members who successfully complete their terms of service will receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award education award of $1,311. Awarded at the end of your service term, it can be used to pay educational costs at eligible post secondary institutions, or to repay qualified student loans.

The award has a seven-year expiration period and is considered taxable income in the year that it is used. 

Members who are 55 or older at the start of their service have an additional option. They may choose to transfer the education award to a child, stepchild, grandchild, step-grandchild or foster child. The recipient of a transferred award has 10 years to use it, beginning on the date the member earned the award.

Federal Student Loan Forbearance and Interest Repayment

If a member is making payments to a federally-backed education loan, payments can be put into forbearance during their service. Upon successful completion of the program, the accrued interest will be paid by the National Service Trust. Learn more about loan forbearance on the AmeriCorps website.

Health Insurance

Members are eligible to enroll in health insurance, with 100% of the premium paid. The plan is managed through Cigna and includes medical coverage for individual members. It does not cover dependents.

For greatest savings under this plan, members are encouraged to use in-network healthcare providers. Search the Cigna website (using the plan option “Open Access Plus, OA Plus, Choice Fund OA Plus”) to find providers in the network.

Child Care Assistance

Members may qualify to receive child-care assistance through a program administered by GAP Solutions, Inc. In order to be eligible for the assistance program, members must meet income requirements. To learn more about how to apply, please see our guide. You can also visit the GAP AmeriCorps website for additional details, frequently asked questions and the rules and regulations of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

ServeMinnesota’s Emergency Response Initiative was created to help Minnesota communities affected by COVID-19. In partnership with Minnesota Alliance With Youth, Reading & Math, Inc., and True North AmeriCorps in Duluth, nearly 700 AmeriCorps members will assist organizations across the state this summer, especially in the areas of math and reading tutoring, food insecurity, homelessness, and more.

AmeriCorps is a national service program often referred to as the “Domestic Peace Corps.” Here in Minnesota, more than 2,000 individuals serve in more than 200 communities annually. People who join AmeriCorps (called “members'') commit to a year of service in exchange for a modest living stipend and an education award to help pay for tuition or student loans. Members are typically passionate, committed individuals who are dedicated to serving the needs of their communities. Members gain valuable professional, educational, and life benefits, and the experience has a lasting impact on the members and the communities they serve. AmeriCorps is a real-life education and work experience wrapped into one.

The program will provide each member with an AmeriCorps orientation at the start of service. The service site will be responsible for training their AmeriCorps member(s) in what they will be doing at the service site. The site will be able to collaborate with the program manager about what information will be essential to successful service of the AmeriCorps member.

Members will begin their service on June 7 and end on August 14.

The application process opened on March 8th and closed on May 19th.  

Great members come from all walks of life. No matter your experience and background, the most important qualification is a desire to serve your community. That said, you also need to meet the following minimum qualifications by the time you begin your service. 

  • Are dependable and have a history of good attendance
  • Able to understand and follow instructions
  • Have basic computer skills (like email and navigating online)
  • Can speak, read, and write English fluently
  • 18 years of age or older with a high school diploma or equivalent
  • A citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States*
  • Agree to and successfully complete a background check

*Applicants who have received deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are not eligible to serve as AmeriCorps members at this time.

We are committed to providing a safe service environment for all AmeriCorps members. Sites need to verify that they have implemented safety protocols in compliance with the federal, state, and local recommendations. In addition, members will be provided PPE as part of their service year. Members are not allowed to serve in COVID-positive sites (such as hotels for quarantine) at this time.

A day in the life of an AmeriCorps Emergency Response member is dynamic, flexible, and always evolving to meet the site and community needs. Depending on the service site, Emergency Response members will fill their day supporting student academic enrichment and tutoring, food security, housing stability, and helping the site connect people to resources. Members can also anticipate attending regular meetings and training to receive support and guidance from the program and site staff.

The living stipend will be paid regularly and will total $3,750 for the entire service term.

Yes. The education award for members in the Minnesota AmeriCorps Emergency Response Initiative will receive an education award in the amount of $1,311. To learn more about the AmeriCorps education award benefit, visit the AmeriCorps website.

Yes. Members who serve 35 hours a week or more receive individual health care benefits with 100 percent of the monthly premium covered. 

Individuals can serve up to a total of four terms of service with AmeriCorps State and National.  If the summer is your first term of AmeriCorps service, you can serve up to an additional three terms.

While the majority of available positions will require in-person service, there may be some virtual opportunities available depending on the needs of our partner organizations. 

ServeMinnesota is the Minnesota state service commission, and as such administers AmeriCorps state programs to address critical community needs. The Emergency Response Initiative is a strategic investment of AmeriCorps resources across multiple AmeriCorps programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in our state.