FEMA notes two program milestones in September
Another 230 FEMA Corps Members began their ten months of service helping disaster survivors in an inaugural ceremony in Vinton, IA on Sept. 28, while an agreement the agency signed the same day with United Negro College Fund’s Special Programs Corporation (UNCFSP) looks to develop disaster management courses at universities around the country.
The 230 FEMA Corps members inducted on Sept. 28 at AmeriCorps NCCC's Vinton campus join a similar-sized class sworn in two weeks ago in Vicksburg, MS, making for an initial corps size of 460 members, according to the agency.
FEMA Corps was established in 2011 as a unit within AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corp s (NCCC), after a record-breaking year for federally declared disasters, to enhance the nation's disaster response and recovery capacity, increase the reliability of the disaster workforce, and provide a pathway for young people to enter the emergency management profession.
The same day as the new FEMA Corps members began service, the agency said it had signed an memorandum of agreement with the UNCF Special Programs Corporation (UNCFSP) to create a partnership that would coordinate mutual engagement on job opportunities, preparedness, response and recovery. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate and UNCFSP interim president and chief executive officer Michael Hester signed the memorandum and discussed ways that FEMA and UNCFSP, which has a constituency of over 300 minority institutions of higher education, can work to broaden opportunities in emergency management and ensure that disaster preparedness includes the community as a whole.
UNCF’s minority education constituency includes historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and other minority institutions.
The agreement between the FEMA and UNCFSP looks to facilitate greater knowledge, individual participation and career opportunities in emergency management, according to FEMA. Among the terms of the agreement, FEMA will participate in lectures, conferences and other events at minority institutions. UNCFSP will work with FEMA to distribute messaging, tools, training and other educational and organizational resources available to support community-based disaster preparedness efforts.
The two organizations, through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute and UNCFSP's minority serving institutions, have been engaged in emergency management training since 2008. The new agreement stipulates that officials of the two organizations will meet quarterly on the principles of engagement, said FEMA.
The new FEMA Corp members, said the agency, now begin FEMA position-specific training. After completing that training, members will be deployed to their first assignments, which can range from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovery centers to sharing disaster response and mitigation information with the public.
FEMA said it expects some teams to be deployed to the Gulf Coast to respond to recent hurricanes and flooding. FEMA Corps will supplement FEMA's existing Reservist workforce in assisting citizens and communities who have been impacted by disasters.
After completing 1,700 hours of service, FEMA Corps members receive a $5,550 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for tuition or pay student loans, said FEMA.
FEMA Corps members will be based out of five AmeriCorps NCCC campuses across the country: Sacramento, CA; Denver, CO; Vinton, IA; Perry Point, MD; and, Vicksburg, MS.