Program Development & Training Officer: August 2023

Major projects completed -- August 2023

  • Trainer officer completed the planned Starting Strong series of summer trainings for new grantees and new staff of existing grantees. This included the annual August face to face gathering of all grantees followed by a workshop on the details of the Cooperative Agreements used to fund grants. Other August new Grantee trainings included OnCorps Grant Management system, AC Branding & Inclusive programming and on Service Site Management. 
  • Also planned and provided the semi-annual Site Supervisor Training intended for all site supervisors participating with funded programs, and also open to all other operating AmeriCorps programs in the state. 
  • Completed updates to the Grant Operations writeboard set in the Group Hub, with all new guidance and associated resources and templates.  This included updating all time-specific items (e.g. AC terms & conditions, annual living allowance, ed award, and health care info), updating existing templates for member contracts and position descriptions, adding federal guidance on teleservice and aid to for-profit restrictions, developing and adding a new site agreement template. A list of the topics covered by the various writeboards is available for review.
  • Developed and presented (with the Volunteer Initiatives Officer) a workshop for MDOE staff in their Lunch & Learn Series titled Hair on Fire or Fire Prevention? - Building Staff Capacity In Schools through Volunteer Management on improving management of school-based volunteers.
  • Did significant outreach to a wide variety of agencies in advance of release of three RFA's this fall, AC Planning, AC Rural Operational, and collaborated with the Climate Corps Coordinator on outreach specific to potential Climate Corps programs.  
  • Provided individualized support to three planning grantees as they navigated the contracting and OnCorps set-up processes connected to managing their awards.

Issues to be aware of --

  • Recruitment for all programs continues to be a significant focus of training and support, especially for the two new MDOE programs.  The Training officer has been working with the Recruitment Specialist to identifying strategies to assist programs to develop more robust outreach.  
  • Earlier this spring we received informal notice that KVCOG would not be completing their Planning Grant due to the release of a staff member.  We have requested formal notification and made attempts to support them in invoicing for any funds that were spent during the period they were operating the program.  No invoices have been filed and no official written statement has been received.  Volunteer Maine is issuing a stop work order and will unencumber the funds approved for this award.
  • We have three novice planning grantees starting in late August, a new agency supporting two new operating grants with a new staff person who missed summer training and a leadership change at a continuing grantee (MYA) who has staff that also did not participate in summer training. This means, in addition to supporting the planning process of the planning grantees, we will be catching up staff members who have not yet been fully trained.
  • The Federal NOFA for the upcoming competitive grant cycle has been released with some significant changes to the narrative structure – this will impact new applicants and, significantly, the recompete of Conservation Corps’ AmeriCorps program.  
  • We will have two Competitive programs, GPCOG and the MDOE/CDS early childhood program, submitting continuation applications. MCC will be submitting a recompete application but, because of their grant year schedule, they will be recompeting prior to the start of their final year of programming. GPCOG will be submitting their continuation at the very start of their first year of competitive funding and is not likely to have enrolled any members at the time of consideration. MDOE/CDS will be submitting a continuation for year three funding even though they are just starting their first year managing this grant. This is because they took over an existing grant from KVCAP who operated the program in the first year of funding.

Major focus of effort in the new month --

  • Planning grant startup support.
  • Outreach for Competitive and Formula applicants.
  • Final prep for the Alpha legal planning grant who intends to apply in this fall. Catching up ME EMS planning grant after the hire of new staff and beginning wrap -up with Unity College planners as they look to finishing their planning later in the fall.
  • Scheduling and communication of the 2023-24 grant year calendar, including meeting schedules and key events and observances.
  • Wrap up microcredential course with VM and UMaine Coop Ext staff.

Other activity --

  • Frequent AmeriCorps Technical Assistance to existing grantees via email, teleconference & face to face.
  • Support for Office Assistant in procurement system management as well as backup for initial entry of financial documents in state purchasing system, including purchase orders, bids, and contracts.