What are the minimum requirements that every AmeriCorps program, regardless of type, must meet?
Although a wide range of programs may be eligible to apply for and receive support from the Corporation, all AmeriCorps subtitle C programs must meet certain minimum program requirements. These requirements apply regardless of whether a program is supported directly by the Corporation or through a subgrant. All AmeriCorps programs must:
(a) Address educational, public safety, human, or environmental needs, and provide a direct and demonstrable benefit that is valued by the community in which the service is performed;
(b) Perform projects that are designed, implemented, and evaluated with extensive and broad-based local input, including consultation with representatives from the community served, participants (or potential participants) in the program, community-based agencies with a demonstrated record of experience in providing services, and local labor organizations representing employees of project sponsors (if such entities exist in the area to be served by the program);
(c) Obtain, in the case of a program that also proposes to serve as the project sponsor, the written concurrence of any local labor organization representing employees of the project sponsor who are engaged in the same or substantially similar work as that proposed to be carried out by the AmeriCorps participant;
(d) Establish and provide outcome objectives, including a strategy for achieving these objectives, upon which self-assessment and Corporation-assessment of progress can rest. Such assessment will be used to help determine the extent to which the program has had a positive impact: (1) On communities and persons served by the projects performed by the program;
(2) On participants who take part in the projects; and
(3) In such other areas as the program or Corporation may specify;
(e) Strengthen communities and encourage mutual respect and cooperation among citizens of different races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, educational levels, both men and women and individuals with disabilities;
(f) Agree to seek actively to include participants and staff from the communities in which projects are conducted, and agree to seek program staff and participants of different races and ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, educational levels, and genders as well as individuals with disabilities unless a program design requires emphasizing the recruitment of staff and participants who share a specific characteristic or background. In no case may a program violate the nondiscrimination, nonduplication and nondisplacement rules governing participant selection described in part 2540 of this chapter. In addition, programs are encouraged to establish, if consistent with the purposes of the program, an intergenerational component that combines students, out-of-school youths, and older adults as participants;
(g) (1) Determine the projects in which participants will serve and establish minimum qualifications that individuals must meet to be eligible to participate in the program; these qualifications may vary based on the specific tasks to be performed by participants. Regardless of the educational level or background of participants sought, programs are encouraged to select individuals who posses leadership potential and a commitment to the goals of the AmeriCorps program. In any case, programs must select participants in a non-partisan, non-political, non-discriminatory manner, ensuring fair access to participation. In addition, programs are required to ensure that they do not displace any existing paid employees as provided in part 2540 of this chapter ;
(2) In addition, all programs are required to comply with any pre-service orientation or training period requirements established by the Corporation to assist in the selection of motivated participants. Finally, all programs must agree to select a percentage (to be determined by the Corporation) of the participants for the program from among prospective participants recruited by the Corporation or State Commissions under part 2533 of this chapter. The Corporation may also specify a minimum percentage of participants to be selected from the national leadership pool established under § 2522.210(c). The Corporation may vary either percentage for different types of AmeriCorps programs;
(h) Provide reasonable accommodation, including auxiliary aids and services (as defined in section 3(1) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102(1)) based on the individualized need of a participant who is a qualified individual with a disability (as defined in section 101(8) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 12111(8) ). For the purpose of complying with this provision, AmeriCorps programs may apply for additional financial assistance from the Corporation pursuant to § 2524.40 of this chapter ;
(i) Use service experiences to help participants achieve the skills and education needed for productive, active citizenship, including the provision, if appropriate, of structured opportunities for participants to reflect on their service experiences. In addition, all programs must encourage every participant who is eligible to vote to register prior to completing a term of service;
(j) Provide participants in the program with the training, skills, and knowledge necessary to perform the tasks required in their respective projects, including, if appropriate, specific training in a particular field and background information on the community, including why the service projects are needed;
(k) Provide support services—
(1) To participants who are completing a term of service and making the transition to other educational and career opportunities; and
(2) To those participants who are school dropouts in order to assist them in earning the equivalent of a high school diploma;
(l) Ensure that participants serving in approved AmeriCorps positions receive the living allowance and other benefits described in §§ 2522.240 through 2522.250 of this chapter;
(m) Describe the manner in which the AmeriCorps educational awards will be apportioned among individuals serving in the program. If a program proposes to provide such benefits to less than 100 percent of the participants in the program, the program must provide a compelling rationale for determining which participants will receive the benefits and which participants will not. AmeriCorps programs are strongly encouraged to offer alternative post-service benefits to participants who will not receive AmeriCorps educational awards, however AmeriCorps grant funds may not be used to provide such benefits;
(n) Agree to identify the program, through the use of logos, common application materials, and other means (to be specified by the Corporation), as part of a larger national effort and to participate in other activities such as common opening ceremonies (including the administration of a national oath or affirmation), service days, and conferences designed to promote a national identity for all AmeriCorps programs and participants, including those participants not receiving AmeriCorps educational awards. This provision does not preclude an AmeriCorps program from continuing to use its own name as the primary identification, or from using its name, logo, or other identifying materials on uniforms or other items;
(o) Agree to begin terms of service at such times as the Corporation may reasonably require and to comply with any restrictions the Corporation may establish as to when the program may take to fill an approved AmeriCorps position left vacant due to attrition;
(p) Comply with all evaluation procedures specified by the Corporation, as explained in §§ 2522.500 through 2522.560;
(q) In the case of a program receiving funding directly from the Corporation, meet and consult with the State Commission for the State in which the program operates, if possible, and submit a copy of the program application to the State Commission; and
(r) Address any other requirements as specified by the Corporation.
[59 FR 13796, Mar. 23, 1994, as amended at 67 FR 45360, July 9, 2002; 75 FR 51410, Aug. 20, 2010]
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