Members learn about life after AmeriCorps

Published 9:47 am Friday, January 6, 2017

Local AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps members started planning for their future Thursday.

The AmeriCorps Southern Region campus in Vicksburg hosted Life After AmeriCorps Day to give their 268 members resources and information on possible career or educational paths to follow after they graduate from the program April 27.

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“The whole goal of our program is to develop (members) professionally and personally, and part of that service to them is making sure they have a solid next step wherever they end up,” said Kaitlynn Howard, support team leader and LAA Day coordinator.

Members chose four different 45-minute long courses to attend throughout the day on subjects like small business, college admissions, getting started in the military, and overview of federal employment, to name a few.

“We have college credit testing and we have resume reviews, mock interviews and we also even have LinkedIn profile pictures,” said Nicole Allen, support team leader and LAA Day coordinator. “We have a variety of sessions for a variety of education levels and a variety of interests.”

During the middle of the day an Opportunities Fair was held in the campus’ Massenburg Memorial Athletic Center. Tables were set up around the gymnasium from 28 different agencies including the National Park Service, Habitat for Humanity, the Transportation Security Administration, the United Way of West Central Mississippi, and United Methodist Church- Disaster Relief.

Allen said it’s important for Corps members to network with the different organizations in order to make decisions for the future. This close to graduation, she said some members get nervous about what their next step will be.

FEMACorps member Emily Walth said she got a lot out of LAA Day.

“I learned about a lot of opportunities AmeriCorps alumni have for jobs and for school,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity to connect with different employers. I’m trying to decided what to do, and I think this is a great opportunity to find out what options are out there.”

Corps member Shauna Riddensdale spent time at the fair making connections for her post-AmeriCorps plans.

“I personally already knew what I wanted to apply to, and both of the organizations are here today so it’s good to get more information on them,” she said.

Many of the agencies at the fair have lasting partnerships with AmeriCorps because the members have volunteered with the organization — giving Corps members experience and giving the organizations trained help from possible future employees.

“A lot of these organizations that we work with hire alums once they’re completed the program or they look for alums to volunteer,” Allen said.

Brian Kennedy, National Environmental Policy Act planner and recreational manager for the United States Forest Service, said about 20 Corps members helped with maintenance at USFS sites last year, and the agency takes notice of Corps members applying for jobs who have prior knowledge.

“It helps them and it helps us,” Kennedy said.

He had a booth at the fair to talk with Corps members about possible job and volunteer opportunities.

“We definitely want to try to inspire them, give them some guidance and help them out in their possible career choice,” Kennedy said. “This is for federal and state agencies to showcase what they’re about and hopefully inspire some of the AmeriCorps here into choosing a career path with one of these agencies.”