What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is a federally funded network of national service programs that engages Americans in service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment. The Choice Program has been affiliated with AmeriCorps since 2003 to engage young adults in giving back to Maryland communities.
When should I apply? When can I start? When does your service year start?
Apply today! The Choice Program recruits year round for AmeriCorps Community Service-Learning Members and cohorts of new Members typically start on a monthly basis. You will be asked on your application and throughout the interview process when you are available to start. We are flexible in our hiring process and accommodate folks in advance of graduation for those who love to plan ahead.
Where will my office be?
The Choice Program has multiple field offices and in-school program sites across Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and Howard County. Your office location will depend on what program you serve with. Our different program areas are explained under the “Our Services” section of this site.
What is the interview process like?
After you submit your application online and are screened to meet all requirements, you will be invited to an informational session (what we call an “info session”). Our info sessions are an opportunity for you to learn about our organization’s mission, our programs’ models, and what the AmeriCorps service year is like. After the info session, you may be invited to a shadow experience with a current AmeriCorps Member to see what happens on the ground with The Choice Program. Following your shadow experience, you will have a second interview with hiring managers.
Can I apply to a specific program? Can I apply to more than one program?
Throughout the interview process, you will learn more about programs and let us know if you have any program preferences. We take both applicant’s preference and our hiring needs into account when making offers for AmeriCorps positions.
Do I really need a car? I’m very familiar with the public transit system.
Yes. It is essential for our AmeriCorps Members to have exclusive access to vehicles, as you will be making visits to youth daily all over their communities.
Do I get paid for this? If so, how much?
Yes! We pay our AmeriCorps Members $24,930 for your year of service. The living allowance is designed to help you meet the necessary living expenses incurred while participating in a year of service. It will be paid to you on a biweekly basis, similar to a paycheck. It is taxable income and our AmeriCorps Members report that their average “paycheck” nets approximately $730. At the end of your year of service, you are also awarded the Segal Education Award (see below).
Will I receive vacation, holidays, and sick days?
Yes. Every fellow receives 11 days of Planned Time Away (PTA), and 3 days of Unplanned Time Away (UTA). The Choice Program follows the holiday schedule of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and closes offices on days of the UMBC campus is closed. However, The Choice Program services are delivered every day of the year. If an AmeriCorps Member works on a day that offices are closed, they will earn a day of PTA as compensation. AmeriCorps Members also earn leave for working weekends, and these days are automatically built into your schedule.
Can my student loans be deferred while I serve with The Choice Program?
Yes. One of the AmeriCorps benefits of the year of service is the option to put public loans into forbearance. This means your loans are deferred during your year of service (no payments required) and AmeriCorps will forgive loan interest for the year.
What is the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award?
After successfully completing your AmeriCorps term of service, you are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. You can use your education award to repay qualified student loans and to pay certain educational expenses costs at eligible institutions of higher education and training programs. You may use your education award to repay qualified student loans, to pay for current education expenses at eligible schools, or for both purposes. The current award amount is $6,095.
Learn more here: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/alumni/segal-americorps-education-award/using-your-segal-education-award