After being sworn in on Sept. 13, the first 240 members of the brand new FEMA Corps will be ready to help out with response and recovery efforts resulting from Hurricane Sandy, the potential "superstorm" now threatening the East Coast.
The FEMA Corps is a collaborative effort of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) intended to enhance FEMA's disaster response and recovery capacity while expanding career opportunities for young people.
While under the direction of FEMA, the FEMA Corps is a unit of the existing AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and is open to young adults ages 18 to 24.
After taking the AmeriCorps pledge to "get things done for America," FEMA Corps members are committed to providing a minimum ten months of full-time service on disaster response and recovery projects. During their service, corps members may find themselves working hands-on helping disaster survivors in the field or sharing disaster response and information with the public from mobile FEMA disaster recovery centers.
FEMA Corps members will receive a $5,550 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for tuition or pay student loans after completing 1,700 hours of service. In addition, says FEMA, their training and experience will give former FEMA Corps a leg up to employment in the rapidly growing emergency management profession.
"I commend you for answering the call to serve and making a difference for people and communities in need," CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer told the first FEMA Corps inductees. "As the nation's very first FEMA Corps members, you are helping write a new chapter in the history of national service. With your training, backed by your team, and inspired by your passion, you will bring much-needed hope and assistance to disasters survivors. As you help others, this year will help you - giving you skills, expanding your opportunities, and setting you on a lifelong path of service to others."
When fully operational in 2013, the 1,600 members of the FEMA Corps will be based out of five AmeriCorps NCCC campuses across the country: Sacramento, Calif; Denver, Colo; Vinton, Iowa; Perry Point, Md; and, Vicksburg, Miss.
Photo: First FEMA Corps Members Sworn-In - CNCS