Hillary Clinton Announces New National Service Reserve,,,
A New Way for Young Americans to Come Together and Serve Their Communities
Today, as part of her larger national service platform, Hillary Clinton announced her plan to create a new National Service Reserve that will expand ways for young Americans to serve their communities and their country. The Reserve will provide a vehicle for the sense of civic ownership and responsibility that Clinton has felt throughout her life, bringing Americans from all backgrounds together in common cause to make a difference where they live. Anyone can sign up to join the Reserve, and national and local leaders can call upon Reserve members to take part in projects of all types — from natural disasters in places like Baton Rouge or emergency relief in places like Flint, MI to addressing the epidemic of addiction in places like New Hampshire. Clinton set a goal of enlisting 5 million Americans, with a special focus on people between the ages of 18 and 30, in the new Reserve.
Studies have shown that millennials are particularly interested in volunteerism and are contributing to their communities in a variety of ways, setting new expectations for social impact as individuals, employees, founders and consumers. Their impact is evident on existing programs, too: AmeriCorps is receiving five times more applications than it has spots to fill, and the Peace Corps has seen a 32% increase in applications compared to the previous year. Additionally, national service provides important job training opportunities especially for non-college youth, and helps Americans pay for college, repay student debt and build skills and that are attractive to employers.
As President, Clinton will:
- Solve Local Problems: Enable local and state leaders to activate highly-motivated and well-trained volunteers to address the most pressing issues in the community. This may mean calling on them to rebuild homes after a disaster, restore a local park, distribute clean drinking water, or help people who are homeless get back on their feet. Reserve activities will be carefully evaluated, with a focus on impact and measurable outcomes.
- Engage Business and Higher Education: Work with employers to encourage them to support employees in the Reserve through initiatives like volunteer time off. She will also work with higher-ed institutions to explore granting credit for college-level learning gained through service experiences.
- Recognize Those Who Serve: Provide Reservists with the opportunity to earn special certification for 50, 100, and 250 hours of service per year. Such credentials can also recognize specialized skills Reservists develop, signifying the value they can provide to future employers. Reservists may also be eligible for a modest stipend based on need when activated to respond to a challenge.
The Reserve itself is a component of Clinton’s broader commitment to more national service, including full-time service. Clinton will:
- Grow AmeriCorps: Draw on new AmeriCorps members to recruit, train, and lead the Reserve. AmeriCorps members serve for a year, receiving a modest living allowance and college scholarship funds. Clinton has pledged to expand AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000 members annually and double the college scholarship each member receives for their service. Some of these additional AmeriCorps members will help organize the Reserve.
- Increase Full Time Service: Dramatically expand year-long service positions, with the vision that every person who wants to serve full-time can do so. She has pledged to create 250,000 annual slots in AmeriCorps and will work with private and nonprofit leaders to even further grow the program to increase the number of citizens engaged in national service.
- Create a Culture of Service: Engage returning veterans as well as Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and other national service alumni in the Reserve as a way for them to continue to contribute to the common good. Research shows that those who complete national service are more likely to continue to serve by volunteering. The Reserve provides a structured way for them to continue to serve in their communities – and an on-ramp to full-time service for Reservists who want to take their service commitment to the next level.
- Build on Older Americans Lifetime of Experience: Expand service opportunities for encore participants. Clinton wants to expand service opportunities for all Americans throughout their lives, with a special focus on people over age 55. To this end, as part of her AmeriCorps expansion, she will work to fulfill the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act Act goal of having 10 percent of AmeriCorps members be encore participants, which would create tens of thousands of new opportunities for Americans over age 55. She will also explore innovative models to allow older Americans to use the skills they have learned over a lifetime to improve their communities.
- Strengthen International Service:Grow Peace Corps to create additional opportunities for Americans to serve in countries around the world. Building on a 55 year history of success, Clinton will increase the number of Peace Corps volunteers to provide the human capital resources to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.