Historic Investment Proposed for AmeriCorps

From an update via the incredible team at Voices for National Service.


Yesterday, in an effort to reach a bicameral deal on the budget reconciliation package, President Biden presented House Democrats with a $1.75 trillion reconciliation framework and the Speaker Pelosi released the Build Back Better Act legislative text that will make up the base of the social spending bill. The public release of the bill text gives us our first glimpse into the more robust investment in AmeriCorps and the Civilian Climate Corps that Senate Democrats and the White House have been pushing for.
The draft bill (here’s the legislative text) includes $15.2 billion for the AmeriCorps agency to be spent over an 8-year investment period. There is $30 billion in total for the Civilian Climate Corps. In addition to $15.2 billion for AmeriCorps, this includes $4.8 billion for several workforce programs at the Department of Labor and funding for several land and resource management agencies at the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, NOAA and more.
Here is an outline of the draft funding levels and some key highlights:
  • Provides $3.2 billion to AmeriCorps State and National and $600 million to VISTA to increase living allowances for all participants including those working in education, public health and other critical areas.
  • Raises the minimum AmeriCorps and VISTA living allowances to 200% of the poverty line.
    • Using 2021 numbers, the poverty line for a single individual is $12,880, so the minimum living allowance will be around $25,760.
  • Provides $80 million for NCCC operations and to increase living allowances for AmeriCorps NCCC members
  • Raises the maximum federal limit on AmeriCorps grants from $18,000/FTE to 125% of the minimum living allowance for a full-time equivalent position.
    • Using the 2021 numbers, this could raise the max cost/MSY to $32,200.  If CNCS funds programs at the proposed max cost/MSY – the delta between the mandatory minimum living allowance and the maximum funds/member is $6,440 for other eligible programs expenses.
  • The agency can waive AmeriCorps State and National match requirements in whole and in part, if the grantee can demonstrate that it serves an underserved or low-income community, a significant percentage of its participants are low-income individuals, and the program cannot meet the match requirements.
  • Provides $400 million for State Commission Admin Grants and gives the CEO the ability to waive match if a State Commision can demonstrate a need for a waiver.
  • Includes $6.9 billion for AmeriCorps State and National, VISTA and NCCC to establishes a Civilian Climate Corps with up to 300,000 new member positions over the 8-year BBB Act investment period. CNCS must ensure awards are made to entities that serve, and have representation from, low-income communities or communities experiencing adverse health and environmental conditions; programs utilize culturally competent and multilingual strategies; projects planned with community input, and implemented by diverse participants who are from communities being served by such programs; and programs that provide participants with workforce development opportunities.
  • Provides $1 billion and $79.8 million to CNCS to carry out these activities. The agency must use these funds to address audit findings and IG recommendations and to coordinate efforts and activities with the Departments of Labor and Education to help prepare AmeriCorps members to transition to high-quality jobs or further education.
  • Provides CNCS with $300,000 to develop, publish, and implement a plan for the CCC within 180 days of the bill’s enactment. CNCS must consult with the Secretary of Labor and the IG as they develop the plan.
  • Provides $49.5 million for outreach and member recruitment from communities traditionally underrepresented in national service programs and from communities experiencing a significant dislocation of workers.
  • Provides $75 million to the Inspector General’s office.
  • Includes $1.15 billion to the National Service Trust Fund to fund education awards for the new members.
  • Includes $1.66 billion to the National Service Trust Fund to provide a supplemental education award to all members serving during the BBB Act investment period.  The value of the supplemental ed award is equal to 50% of a maximum Federal Pell Grant.
This has been a big week for the national service community!