How are sites assigned members?
Once a candidate has been interviewed by NHC Chicago and deemed suitable for the program, they are given a description of the available host sites. From these descriptions, they select their first, second, and third choice. They are then referred to the host site of their first choice for an interview. If, after the interview with the host site supervisor, the member and host site believe the placement would be a good match, then the member is placed there. If the member is unsure about the placement or if the site is unsure, then the member moves on to his or her second choice and the host site waits for another candidate.
How does NHC Chicago recruit candidates?
NHC Chicago uses a national database of applicants to AmeriCorps programs. The database contains tens of thousands of applicants of varying levels of age, skill, ability, education, and ethnicity. Searches can be made for specific skills (e.g. second language) and education levels (e.g., bachelor’s degree). NHC Chicago also recruits locally via existing host sites. All recruits must submit an application online at www.americorps.gov and the NHC Chicago Program Staff will interview all candidates before they are accepted to NHC Chicago.
What are the typical qualifications of an AmeriCorps candidate?
Most AmeriCorps candidates interviewed by NHC Chicago have a college degree. But, regardless of educational attainment, we seek candidates who have a demonstrated commitment to volunteerism, strong work ethic, a willingness to work in a team, emotional and professional maturity, initiative, and a stated desire to pursue a career in health.
Can host sites recruit their own members?
Yes. In fact, host sites are encouraged to recruit candidates for their slot(s). However, before a placement can be made, the candidate must interview with NHC Chicago.
Our funding was cut and/or we’ve lost staff and have services/activities that still need to be implemented. Can the AmeriCorps member take over these duties?
An AmeriCorps member cannot take over duties previously assigned to an employee. This is a violation of AmeriCorps provisions. The AmeriCorps member’s service must be unique. However, a member can address a specific population (demographic, zip code, age group, etc) that is NOT being served by an employee with the same services. For example, the AmeriCorps member services schools in the 60625 zip code, and employees service 60622, 60623, and 60624.
What does the member receive in terms of wages and benefits?
Members receive a stipend in the amount of $12,630, which is distributed in 23 equal bi-weekly checks by the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago. It is not a wage and they are not paid by the hour. In addition to the living allowance, they receive health insurance, a childcare allowance, and upon completion of their service, an education award which they can use for tuition, books, and supplies related to their education or to pay back existing student loans. Members also receive forbearance on qualified student loans, while they are in service to AmeriCorps. Interest that accrues while they are in forbearance is paid by AmeriCorps when their term is complete.
If we are selected as a host site, but have difficulty filling our slot with a suitable candidate during the interview and placement process, will we lose our slot?
No. Every effort will be made to identify candidates for the selected host sites. To assist in the process, host sites are expected to promptly interview candidates when they are referred to them because candidates often apply to multiple programs, and thus, may enroll in another program if they have to wait too long for an interview. Host sites are also encouraged to recruit suitable candidates through their own professional and community networks.
Can a host site pay a member an additional wage or bonus?
No. Host sites may not supplement the wages or benefits provided by the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago to the corps member.
How many hours of service is a member required to provide to the host site?
Members are required to serve 1,700 hours in the program. While a large majority of these hours are served at the host site, a portion of these 1,700 hours are served in activities away from the host site (e.g., NHC Chicago training, meetings, and service projects).
How often are members assigned to offsite activities such as training, meetings, and service projects?
Members may spend up to a maximum of 20% of their time in activities that are outside their direct service activities.
Are members required to attend all NHC Chicago training sessions, meetings, and service projects?
Yes, members are required to attend all NHC Chicago training sessions, meetings, and service projects. All are scheduled well in advance, so sites may not schedule activities, trainings, or meetings that conflict with these and require the attendance of the member, because the member may not be excused for a scheduling conflict with a host site activity.
Will there be changes in the program calendar, and if so, how will sites be notified?
Yes, there will likely be changes to the program calendar. However, member meeting/training dates are rarely changed. If there is a change in the calendar, the program director will send out a notice via email as soon as the change has been made.
Can NHC Chicago members do fundraising?
Yes, but only for programs and projects that relate to their service activities. They may not do fundraising for capital campaigns, operating expenses, or for their own member support costs. Also, only 10% (170 hours) of their time may be spent on fundraising activities.
If our member begins the program, but quits before the end of the term, can they be replaced? If not, does the host site get a refund of the site contribution?
If a member leaves prior to completing 510 hours of service (30% of the 1700 minimum), they can be replaced by another full-time member. However, if the member leaves after completing more than 510 hours, they cannot be replaced, per AmeriCorps regulations. The host site does not receive a refund for any portion of the host site cash contribution.
Are sites expected to provide guidance and support to the member during the term of service?
Yes. In fact, one of the primary reasons members join the program is that they are seeking guidance, support, and experience related to their pursuit of a career in health. This is best provided by the host site, because they are the ones providing the direct service.
What type of training and technical support is available to host sites with regard to becoming familiar with the rules, regulations, and expectations of hosting a NHC Chicago AmeriCorps member?
The NHC Chicago program staff provides training and technical assistance to host sites throughout the year, via phone, email, quarterly meetings, and site visits. Also, site supervisors will be required to attend a host site orientation session on and a day of the member pre-service training (dates TBD).
Are sites required to recruit non-member volunteers?
Recruiting non-member volunteers is an important element in all AmeriCorps programs, because volunteers help sustain the efforts of AmeriCorps members after they are gone. Therefore, each host site should identify ways in which volunteers can be used to address and fill the needs of your organization and the community it serves.