Colorado to receive nearly $2 million in federal funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, project supported by in-kind donations from Gary Community Investments
DENVER - Today, Governor Polis announced that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will mobilize more than 800 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to support the State of Colorado's COVID-19 response. The national service members will conduct contact tracing and other work important to helping Colorado reopen and getting people back to work. As the state increases COVID-19 testing and continues reopening in phases, tracing the contacts of each positive case will be key to containing the virus and keeping our economies open.
"We are thrilled to have these AmeriCorps members join Colorado's response to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Governor Jared Polis. "Contact tracing is an important part of containing the spread of this virus and ensuring that Coloradans can keep themselves, and those around them, as safe as possible. The work of these members will be critical to the health and safety of Coloradans, as well as next steps for our economy."
CNCS, the federal agency for volunteering and service, will support the initiative by redeploying AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) members and providing nearly $2 million in federal funding for new AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Summer Associates and Senior Corps volunteers.
"Colorado is the proud home to thousands of AmeriCorps members and this support will be critical in our efforts to contain the virus," said Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera. "Colorado's AmeriCorps members have already been hard at work in helping their communities during this global pandemic, and we are excited to partner with CNCS on this new effort."
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will arrange for training and determine assignments for all AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers. Gary Community Investments has secured the technology and equipment necessary for the virtual service required by the unique circumstances. CDPHE will partner with the Colorado Community Tracing Collaborative to provide training for the national service corps members and volunteers. The collaborative consists of non-profit advocates, governmental agencies, hospitals, and university organizations coordinating efforts to hire, train, and deploy a comprehensive contact tracing and navigator workforce. For more information please contact the collaborative at ContactTracing@trailhead.institute. Serve Colorado, the Governor's Commission on Community Service, will host the webpage for these efforts creating a single point of entry for individuals interested in signing up to serve. More information can be found at colorado.gov/servecolorado.
Initially, the service assignments for the positions announced today will be for remote work, as the members help provide temporary surge capacity for the initial phases of contact-tracing. This surge capacity allows the State to better support the Local Public Health Authorities who are on the front lines of the battle with COVID-19.
Details of the project include:
- 300 AmeriCorps NCCC members, based out of the Southwest Region Campus in Aurora, will start immediately
- 350 VISTA Summer Associates will be hosted by the Community Resource Center in Denver and Conservation Legacy in Durango, both existing AmeriCorps VISTA projects
- 100-200 additional Senior Corps volunteers will join the Senior Corps RSVP projects at Cultivate and Volunteers of America, Colorado Branch in Denver.
"I'm proud that, working hand-in-hand with local partners, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps will help Colorado respond to COVID-19," said Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "In moments of crisis, Americans have always come together to serve those who need help. United, there is no problem we can't tackle."
"We at Gary are proud to work in partnership with the state and AmeriCorps to address this crisis and get Coloradans safely back on their feet. We\'re excited to show the country what can happen when we come together to solve big problems," said Gary Community Investments CEO Mike Johnston.
The AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers included in this project will join the many who, despite the obstacles presented by social distancing, have acted quickly and creatively to continue their critical work in new ways, or pivot to meet emerging needs. Each year, more than 2,100 AmeriCorps members and 4,700 Senior Corps volunteers serve in the state at more than 800 locations.
Organizations are currently recruiting for the new positions announced today, the first of which begin on June 22. Those who serve as VISTA Summer Associates will earn a stipend and an education award at the end of their service. For more information on requirements and details on how to apply visit www.colorado.gov/servecolorado.