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Announcing the Creation of FEMA Corps


Washington, D.C., March 13, 2012 -- Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, discusses the new partnership between AmeriCorps' Corporation for National and Community Service and FEMA. The new partnership is designed to strengthen the nation’s ability to respond to and recover from disasters while expanding career opportunities for young people.

Along with our partners at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), we announced the creation of FEMA Corps, which sets the foundation for a new generation of emergency managers.  FEMA Corps leverages a newly-created unit of 1,600 service corps members from AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps who are solely devoted to FEMA disaster response and recovery.

The full-time residential service program is for individuals ages 18-24, and members will serve a one-year term including a minimum of 1,700 hours, providing support working directly with disaster survivors. The first members will begin serving in this August and the program will reach its full capacity within 18 months.

The program will enhance the federal government’s disaster capabilities, increase the reliability and diversity of the disaster workforce, promote an ethos of service, and expand education and economic opportunity for young people.

At today’s event, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, remarked:

...[FEMA Corps], helps communities recover, it trains young people, helps them pay for college, and it doesn't cost taxpayers an additional dime. Whether you're a young person looking for work, a member of the community that's been hit by a flood or a tornado or just a citizen who wants your tax dollars to be spent as wisely as possible, this is a program you can be proud of. This is really government at its best.

And it's part of the president's larger vision for an America built to last. Today, so many of our young people have shown that they're willing to do their part to work hard, act responsibly and contribute to their communities. But in tough economic times, it's up to all of us to make sure that their hard work and responsibility still pays off.

We have to preserve what President Obama has called the basic promise of America, that no matter who you are, where you come from, you can make it if you try, if you fulfill your responsibilities and you make a contribution.

During the event, Secretary Napolitano described the program:

First and most important, it will help communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters by supporting disaster recovery centers, assisting in logistics, community relations and outreach, and performing other critical functions.

We know from experience that quick deployment of trained personnel is critical during a crisis. The FEMA Corps will provide a pool of trained personnel, and it will also pay long-term dividends by adding depth to our reserves -- individuals trained in every aspect of disaster response who augment our full-time FEMA staff.

Second, the Corps will help us make the best use of taxpayer funds as we bring in FEMA Corps members at a significantly lower cost.

Third, FEMA Corps will provide participants with critical job skills and training. Emergency management is a growing field, much larger than FEMA alone. The recent high school and college graduates entering this program will emerge with the training and the on-the-ground experience that provides a clear pathway into this critical profession.

And finally, this Corps -- it encourages and supports the ethic of public service tapping the energy and dedication to helping their communities that we see among so many young adults today. Many here today, myself included, know that a career in public service presents opportunities and rewards far beyond paychecks.

The new initiative will promote an ethos of national service and civic engagement by mobilizing corps members and community volunteers to provide critical disaster services. Once trained by FEMA and CNCS, members will provide support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors, to supporting disaster recovering centers, and sharing valuable disaster information with the public.

Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, spoke about this new chapter in national service:

By opening up new pathways in emergency management, this partnership will give thousands of young people the opportunity to serve their country and gain the skills and training they need to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow.  This is a historic new chapter in the history of national service that will enhance our nation's disaster capabilities and promote an ethic of national service while achieving significant cost savings for the taxpayer.

Deputy Administrator Serino discussed the importance of FEMA Corps:

People have asked, why is this important? Looking into the eyes of survivors, looking at communities that are devastated, having young people that can step up and help out in the time of a disaster who are trained will make a difference in people's lives. That's why we're doing this.

As we continue to move forward and we look for opportunities to be more efficient, to look for opportunities to get young people involved in government, to get young people involved in service to their country, [we] will make a difference. We've had the opportunity to work with CNCS in AmeriCorps in the past, and this is broadening that -- expanding it, so we have the opportunity to bring this talented, young, will-be-trained workforce to help our staff.

They are augmenting our reservists, augmenting our full-time employees. This will be an opportunity for us to strengthen our nation's disaster response capabilities, create pathways for young people and really help the ethos of national service.

Mayor Walter Maddox, Tuscaloosa, Ala. also attended today’s announcement, and from the perspective a mayor of a town still recovering from a major disaster last year, the mayor expressed his excitement about the new agreement:

This new partnership between FEMA and the Corporation for National and Community Service will be crucial in supporting cities, counties and states in their time of need.  I commend FEMA and CNCS for understanding that to effectively respond during a crisis, we have to extend beyond political, geographical and even bureaucratic boundaries to ensure all resources are made available to the citizens we serve.

To recap, the purpose of the program is:

  • Strengthening the Nation’s Disaster Response Capacity: The partnership will provide a trained and reliable resource dedicated to support disaster operations, while enhancing the entire emergency management workforce.
  • Creating Pathways to Work for Young People:  By providing training, experience, and educational opportunity, the partnership will prepare thousands of young people for careers in emergency management and related fields.
  • Promoting an Ethos of National Service:  The partnership will strengthen our nation’s culture of service and civic engagement by mobilizing corps members and community volunteers to provide critical disaster services. 
  • Modernizing Government Operations to Improve Performance:  By working together, CNCS and FEMA will advance the President’s management goals of working across government, managing across sectors, and promoting efficiency.

To learn more about the new program, visit the AmeriCorps website or our FEMA Corps page.

Last Updated: 
06/02/2017 - 09:29


Why only take those who are between age 18=24? Isn't that discrmination?

You can always join the Citizens Corps.<br />See: //

i'm way past 24 and i'm interested in the program. My fed tax sponsors the program. I want to participate.

I think if its a partnership it would have the word AmeriCorps NCCC in the name instead of just FEMA Corps. Also, you would think the administrator of FEMA would know how to reference NCCC correctly. In his video, he refers to it as the National Corporation Community Corps. It doesn't seem like its a partnership . . .

There is an opportunity for people over 24 to participate:<br /><br />Corps Members in the program have to be 18-24, but Team Leaders just have to be over 21. Read the information on the AmeriCorps NCCC website:

Yet ANOTHER waste of taxpayer dollars.... when will it ever slow down the national debt.... BANKRUPTCY

Must be nice never having made a mistake before...

Citizen Corps is actually being defunded to alter the preparedness paradigm. CERT programs will continue at the local level but the program is being widened to overall community preparedness, not just response. Just found out last night that funding is being rerouted away from our program.

Won't cost the tax payers a dollar? They won't be paying managers, providing any supplies, transportation....and didn't they mention helping pay for college? I'm sure it's a great program but I'm tired of gov't programs boasting that their programs won't cost any money when it's not possible, someone's tax dollars are going to this.... That being said I do hope this becomes succesful

The age limit is due to the set up of AmeriCorps*NCCC, which this program will be part of. While it may seem odd, NCCC is a program that offers young adults an opportinuty to develop skills they can use to help them enter the workforce.<br /><br />That said, you can apply to be a Team Leader as long as you are over 21 (it might even be 18). As mentioned below you can learn more about that at

It will actually save taxpayers approximately 60 million dollars. <br /><br />They DO need to incorporate the name "AmeriCorps" into the title so that people know who to two partners are (e.g. Fema-AmeriCorps).

Actually, they are expecting it to save $60 Millon/ year. <br /><br />Source: /about/employees/femacorps.shtm

Will this program be taking work from current FEMA reservists?

This is exactly my feeling, say good bye CR, we are being replaced....

How do you join?

Certain cadres require the proper education and credentials. You'll get what you pay for, hopefully not by compromising our security.

I'm interested in how this Is going to maintain a trained force. Disasters are not linear. We can go for months and sometimes years without significant events. Someone with a three year stint might never deploy or only deploy once or twice. You don't become proficient like that. So does the government then pay college tuition to these folks who haven't deployed? Don't get me wrong, I've worked with Americorps folks before and they were terrific. I just don't see the continuity for them with sporadic disaster work.

I am very disappointed that the format for this new "Corps" program has restricted age levels for basic participation. We have so many returning veterans who had already paid for so much that will not be able to qualify for the priviledge to participate. They may be able to do a leadership role but then how do they do that? And who will pick the one in every several hundred who would like to apply.<br /><br />I have had several AmeriCorps persons work through our Emergency Management office and I was directly responsible for them. There is way too much red tape and ridiculous hoops to go through to comply with their program. Especially when the local depts are strapped for funding and staff to do even more. Which by the way will be the ones to train these applicants for the real world of emergency management, not to mention just showing up for work on time.<br /><br />Give me a returning veteran any day over a college student.<br /><br />The budget part of it? They are saving money but it is at the cost of more work for those who are giving most of their paychecks back to their communities to keep programs like the Citizen Corps Councils and CERT and MRC alive. I don't see a even a moderate benefit to this new concept as it is presented. Alot more time and work that will come off those who are already overwhelmed at the office. When it comes to who will replace our aging (and I am one of them)emergency managers, I vote for the volunteers who have come time after time with no rewards in sight to step up behind me and carry on the tremendous work load and community committment. The Americorps people that we have had for the last four years, we train them and then they leave our communities for higher paying jobs cause we do not have the funding to keep them. And the cycle repeats. And we just do more work.

Sounds like it to me.

Does anyone have an interest in developing our youth and strengthening the future of emergency management and how we help disaster survivors? Is $4.75 a day in per diem when many receive 50-100$ a day too much for these young people that are dedicating themselves to better their country? Will FEMA have 100% of the reservist cadre available at any one time--would you like to be required to deploy every day of the year and then go sleep in a barrack like they are willing to do? Every person in the agency started out as a trainee--because they are coming in as trainees are these young, energetic, committed, intelligent young people in our country really going to "mess things up"? Did we all come is as fully trained staff able to answer all questions and do a perfect job--and are even the fully qualified staff in FEMA fully able to answer and do everything and never make a mistake? I'm very tired of all the negative comments about everything. The agency was so short of staff this past hurricane season--painfully so--and to get many people to make themselves available they had to "force" compliance for an agreement signed by each DAE when they started? Do you know that 90% of the staff that responded to Katrina were contractors because weren't enough staff? I would suggest trying to think of something positive to say--anything at all. Trust me--you will feel better, you will actually be helping the future of emergency management--and perhaps, just perhaps--you will be fortunate enough to work with one of these young folks and be a positive mentor rather than a cynical person that is only thinking of themself when our collective reason for being an agency is to help disaster survivors.

Sounds like DAE's are on the way out

I would be interested in a staffing model pre FEMA Corps and post FEMA Corps for an actual disaster or a model disaster. Show the staffing levels of PFT, Core and DAE's in all functional areas and in the post model show the same and where the FEMA Corps fill in. I'm a DAE and I would like to see where I fit in the future FEMA disaster staffing.

FEMA Corps does show partnership: FEMA + AmeriCorps = FEMA Corps.

It is a cost savings (did you even read the article?). Regular FEMA reservists incur much greater costs: hotel + rental car + per diem + phone + laundry...<br /><br />These kiddos don't get those reimbursements. Maybe $7/day to eat on, and they stay at churches, etc.

I agree. <br /><br />I'm a Veteran and I cant get a job, Ive been trying even with my former employer, the Army, for a civilian job but all Ive got is a temporary mulching job. <br /><br />I know how to show up to work, and actually work. And Id love to get into Emergency Management. I know what sacrifice is, and Im not afraid to deploy to a disaster area, Ive been through 8 hurricanes and three Major ones. It doesn't scare me. At least Im not going to get shot at most of the time. <br /><br />I honestly wonder how many college students are going to show up when a deployment happens. I'll bet its lower than 35%. A Veteran will show up, as long as they're committed to it. We've deployed, we know how to do it and we'll work til we drop.

You said it perfectly. With the anticipated draw-down of the military I would love to see veterans get the first shot , not just a shot at these positions. I would rather pay these veterans than have kids working for college money. <br />I can see the government paying out huge unemployment benefits to these "laid off" Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines while just keeping them in and developing a disaster response MOS that could be used anywhere with the assets of military air and ground support as an extra benefit.

It would be great if Ticket to work holders could do things like computer jobs at home...and I'm very thankful for FEMA, they helped me out after a flood. I would be falling through the floors right now if it weren't for them. They were very efficient, there the next day! What more could I ask for?

The local citizens do a better job responding to an emergency event then fema. Why do it out of wanting to help your follow man then people that do not know the area or the people. This is just another waste of tax payers money.<br /><br />Lance Sauer RN

Another way for our gov't to indoctrinate our children.... GREAT!

totally agree....

When you say "to develop skills they can use in the workforce" do you mean the private sector or expansion of government workers?

When have the costs of federal government programs ever come in at a savings? This will expand and grow and then there will be undiscovered costs and unintended consquences before all is said and done.

FEMA is the organization that turned back donated semi-truckloads of bottled water from outfits like Target and Wal-Mart during Katrina because they weren't "officially authorized."<br /><br />Will the FEMA Corps participants be trained in this sort of activity?

Thank you.

Will FEMA Corps trainee/members get any relief on their Federally-held student loans? Will prior military service be a disqualifier for otherwise qualified individuals?

I still did not see any answers that reference the future of the current DAE program as we know it. Will it affect the job skills they have attained and their deployments? FEMA reservists can hit the ground running and know what to do. I applaud the Americorps students who really have an interest, but they will need supervision and assistance, and then they will be on to bigger and better things, if there are jobs out there. As municipalities and states juggle the economy, where will those jobs be?

Yes it is taking work from current FEMA reservists. they are not adding to it. FEMA just let a lot of reservists go so they could do this. the ones they let go have been with FEMA for years with a lot of training that we paid for and now FEMA is starting over again training new people. Does that sound like saving money?

The current DAE program is going away as of Dec 31 2012


Who cares? A job is a job.

Thank You! I have been chosen as one of the members for FEMA Corps this upcoming August. After hearing some of these rude comments,it makes me upset. Many younger kids,including myself are willing to give up 10 months of their lives to help out our country; and you all are complaining?? First our generation is lazy and rude,and now we're doing too much?! Of course trained veterans could do this job!, However, just because we do not have all the training as them, does not mean we won't work our butts off! I for one will do everything I can possibly do to help!!

Thank you! I've also been chosen to be a member of FEMA Corps in August. I'm incredibly excited to be helping my country and making a difference. A lot of people my age are out screwing up their lives, but there are those that truly have the compassion to help others. Yes we are new, but we will be trained to do get the job done and do it well! I do wish that the veterans could also take part in this, because of how much they have trained and sacrificed. Maybe they will somehow amend the rules on that in the future! For now, just give us a chance, this is a huge opportunity for us and we will make a difference!

You obviously did not read up on this program! The money being used for this program allows entry level youth who are looking for jobs and experience to assist FEMA in the work they most do whether this program was in place or not. So instead of having youth who are providing a service for a small stipend plus housing/food, they would be paying FEMA employees an annual salary to do this work. Plus, the fact that youth today are having a hard time finding employment and instead live with their parents in hopes of finding a way to gain experience (which they will not be hired without it) a chance to gain skills needed in the field. How do you think Peace Corps has been so successful, or FDRs Civilian Conservation Corps and then AmeriCorps? It keeps youth out of trouble, provides them with skills, will reducing the costs inquired by disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recover efforts that our government ends up spending in the face of Natural/man-made disasters. If FEMA Corps youth are able to mitigate for reducing the loss of property and lives if a disaster occurs, or are able to canvas neighborhoods where people are waiting to meet with FEMA and find out how to move forward following a disaster, work in removing debris that way government taxpayer dollars are not shelling out $50+ an hour to people with equipment & man-power to do it. Prevention, preparedness and Mitigation is what saves lives, it is what reduces economic expenditures! I would have to say this is money well spent and hope to see more programs where youth can provide their energy and hard work for serving our country not through the MILITARY and going to way, but focusing on the needs that we have here!!!!

Mitigation and Preparedness is more important than response! Plus their are natural disasters occurring all around the US whether it be small scale (or) large scale. Additionally, when they say College tuition it is a set amount given ($5000) that can be put towards certain student loans and to apply toward the cost of your education if you plan on attending school once you have completed your FEMA Corps service. This is because their stipend is only $400 a month which is equivalent to $2.50 an hour, plus housing/food. I worked with FEMA Corps youth following Hurricane Sandy and they were a great help!

Well said!!!! I worked with FEMA Corps youth during Hurricane Sandy and can vouch for many of the comments you stated first hand. If people are upset because they may not be deployed as FEMA reservist they can always sign up for American Red Cross, MRC or other agencies to be deployed in the case of disaster. I am sure many people are unwilling to work for free or very minimal like many of these volunteers and youth who dedicate hours of their lives for their country and for the people affected by disaster.