An Innovative Cost-Saving Partnership to Strengthen Disaster Response and Expand Opportunities for Young People
On March 13, 2012, the White House announced an innovative partnership between the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to establish a FEMA-devoted unit of 1,600 service corps members within AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) solely devoted to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. This partnership builds on the historic collaboration between the two agencies and will enhance the federal government’s disaster capabilities, increase the reliability and diversity of the disaster workforce, promote an ethic of service, expand education and economic opportunity for young people, and achieve significant cost savings for the American taxpayer. When the program is at full operational capability, and in an average disaster year, we expect to see a savings of approximately $60 million in a year.
Every year, millions of Americans suffer the effects of natural and man-made disaster. Disasters can lead to human losses, social problems, economic harm, and environmental damage. Given the prevalence and severity of disasters and other hazards, FEMA is looking for ways to diversify and fortify its existing disaster workforce structure. FEMA will partner with CNCS to support 1,600 additional service corps members annually within AmeriCorps NCCC, a full-time residential service program for individuals ages 18-24. The FEMA Corps members will be solely focus on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery activities, providing support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovering centers to sharing valuable disaster preparedness and mitigation information with the public.
The FEMA Corps members will serve for a 10 month term with an option to extend for a second year. The program will prepare thousands of young people for careers in emergency management and related fields. During their service, they will gain significant training and experience in disaster services and will provide important support to disaster survivors. The first members will begin serving in August 2012 and the program will reach full capacity within 18 months.