FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, 202-538-1065, firstname.lastname@example.org
Including National Service in the Next Stimulus Package Will Create Jobs, Help Contain the Pandemic
Washington, DC (July 24, 2020) – Congress has an opportunity to create jobs, help communities respond to and recover from COVID-19, and bring Americans together by investing in the strong and resilient national service infrastructure around the country through the next COVID-19 stimulus package, which is expected to be unveiled early next week.
“As the negotiations over the next COVID package continue, Congress should include AmeriCorps and Senior Corps as powerful strategies for helping our nation recover from this pandemic,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “Expanding national service is an essential part of moving our country forward. Since the pandemic began, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have ramped up their efforts to address critical gaps in services facing our communities and to give Americans who are out of work the opportunity to make a difference in their communities through purpose-driven service. National service is a win-win for the country.”
“We are committed to working with our champions, including Senators Chris Coons and Roger Wicker and their many colleagues from both sides of the aisle, as the stimulus package works its way through the legislative process to ensure that national service can best contribute to the nation’s recovery.”
Last month, Senators Coons and Wicker introduced the Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service, or CORPS Act, to expand national service dramatically with the goal that it would be included as part of this COVID-19 relief package. The bill, which has 16 Senate co-sponsors balanced evenly by party, invests in the strong and capable national service infrastructure that can respond to specific local needs. In addition to expanding AmeriCorps and strengthening Senior Corps to help communities with food distribution, supporting students, ensuring that medically vulnerable people continue to receive their medications and supporting public health needs, it will give young people experience, skills, a living stipend and post-service education scholarship at a time when employment opportunities are scarce and the needs of our communities are great. It also prioritizes expanding programs in rural and high poverty communities.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members across the country have acted quickly and creatively to address gaps in services and persistent inequities that have only been exacerbated by COVID-19. AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members have delivered millions of meals, conducted hundreds of thousands of wellness checks, expanded access to health screenings, set up temporary isolation sites, organized blood drives and are providing virtual teaching, tutoring and mentoring to students.
The CORPS Act is endorsed by nearly 170 civilian and veteran service organizations. A new cost benefit study by economists at ICF found that for every $1 Congress appropriates to AmeriCorps and Senior Corps there is a $17 return to society, service members, and the government.
Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national service programs, state service commissions and individual champions, who work to ensure Americans of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to serve and volunteer in their community. Founded in 2003, Voices for National Service has built strong bipartisan support among our nation’s leaders and helped to elevate national service as a powerful strategy for tackling unmet needs, preparing young people for work, uniting our country and developing civic character.