Today, we welcomed 231 energetic members into the first ever FEMA Corps class. The members just finished off their first month of training with our partners at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and are one step closer to working in the field on disaster response and recovery. They will now head to FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness to spend the next two weeks training in their FEMA position-specific roles. Once they complete both the CNCS and FEMA training, these 231 dedicated FEMA Corps members will be qualified to work in one of a variety of disaster related roles, ranging from Community Relations to Disaster Recovery Center support.
Vicksburg, Miss., Sep. 13, 2012 -- Deputy Administrator Rich Serino gives the keynote address at the Induction Ceremony for the inaugural class of FEMA Corps members. FEMA Corps members assist with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery activities, providing support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovering centers to sharing valuable disaster preparedness and mitigation information with the public.
FEMA Corps builds on the great work of AmeriCorps to establish a service cadre dedicated to disaster response and recovery. To be sure, responding to disasters is nothing new for Americorps. In fact, the great work that AmeriCorps already does during disasters was the inspiration for FEMA Corps. When I visited communities all over the country that were devastated by disasters, from Joplin, MO to Bastrop, Texas, I always encountered the incredible members of AmeriCorps lending a helping hand to survivors. I was continually struck by the level of compassion, dedication, and skill these members brought to the table.
Today’s inductees are pioneers, combining the exceptional record of citizen service at AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps with FEMA’s specialized mission of supporting survivors with their recovery after a disaster. The new members, who range in age from 18-24 years old, will contribute to a dedicated, trained, and reliable disaster workforce by working full-time for ten months on federal disaster response and recovery efforts. As we announced in March, FEMA Corps sets the foundation for a new generation of emergency managers; it promotes civic engagement and offers an educational and financial opportunity for young people; and is designed to strengthen the nation’s disaster response by supplementing FEMA’s existing Reservist workforce.
I commend and thank every member of the inaugural class of FEMA Corps for their dedication to helping communities in need. Welcome to FEMA Corps!