U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced $3.1 million in AmeriCorps funding for New Mexico from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs.
These grants will put nearly 300 AmeriCorps members on the ground to serve in communities across the state.
“AmeriCorps funding is a big win for New Mexico. AmeriCorps members do everything from mentoring economically disadvantaged students to building trails for local communities to making homes more energy efficient,” Udall said. “They learn critical career skills and how to work in a team, contribute to the community, and get a bonus at the end for student loans or education. The AmeriCorps grants, funding, and match translate into almost 300 jobs and almost $5.5 million to our state’s economy. I’ll continue to support strong funding for AmeriCorps, a sound investment and a great opportunity for young people in New Mexico.”
“AmeriCorps members provide intensive service to meet educational, environmental, and other pressing needs across New Mexico,” Heinrich said. “As a former AmeriCorps member in New Mexico, I know first-hand that there is no venture more rewarding than working to improve the lives of those around us. I am proud to welcome new AmeriCorps members to New Mexico and thrilled that the state is receiving these grants that support organizations working to better our local communities.”
“Building on New Mexico’s strong tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, AmeriCorps members will change lives, improve communities, and build a safer, stronger, and more united New Mexico,” Chester Spellman, director of AmeriCorps said. “While they serve others, AmeriCorps members will also create opportunities for themselves – gaining skills and experience to jumpstart their careers. I salute all the AmeriCorps members for their dedication, and thank all those who help to make their service possible.”
Three grants totaling $1.1 million are going to support nearly 300 AmeriCorps members at organizations operating in New Mexico only: Families and Youth, Inc., EcoServants – Sierra Blanca Service Corps, and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. After successfully completing their service, these AmeriCorps members are expected to earn $564,374 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards, a post-service benefit that can be used to cover the costs of post-secondary education or help pay back qualified student loans. The New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism will also receive $1.3 million in funding to support additional AmeriCorps members in the coming months.
The projects funded by the new AmeriCorps grants are:
Families and Youth, Inc. – $278,036 to deploy 36 AmeriCorps members to close the achievement gap in the Las Cruces public school system through three distinct, yet complimentary programs: the Safe After-School Program; the In-School Support Program; and the Safe Out-of-School Summer Program, known as Enterprise City.
EcoServants – $288,055 for 76 AmeriCorps members to aid in conservation and sustainability efforts, such as removing noxious weeds and other invasive species, constructing and restoring trails, and armoring cross-drainages with heavy stones to mitigate water erosion. This program strives to improve local ecosystems specifically in the rural communities of Lincoln county and Otero county. By the end of the first program year, AmeriCorps members will build six miles of new trails and restore 12 miles of old trails. The actions of AmeriCorps members will result in expanded green spaces and a bolstered eco-tourism industry in the region.
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. – $600,019 to recruit 180 “opportunity youth” (individuals age 16-24 who are neither working nor in school) in New Mexico as AmeriCorps members who will receive comprehensive workforce development training in Taos and Albuquerque. The focus for the program is environmental—members will restore degraded landscapes to their original ecological functions to protect communities from flooding and preserve the natural vegetation, among other conservation tasks. Participants experience positive post-program outcomes—70% of participants are enrolled in post-secondary schooling following their service year and approximately 20% find long-term employment.
CNCS is the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. The agency engages tens of thousands of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.