Program Development & Training Officer: June & July 2023

Major projects completed -- 

  • Provided individualized support to planning grantees as they revised applications in response to Commission conditions and recommendations prior to federal submission.
  • Spent significant time assisting Downeast Community Partners (DCP) in final preparation of their application, moving the amendment with the federal agency, getting their personnel set up in the various platforms needed for starting out with an AmeriCorps grant, and getting the info on summer training timelines. Despite this effort DCP opted to decline funding in mid-July (see note below for additional information).
  • Also spend considerable time assisting MDOE in the start-up of their new mentoring grant and the Child Development Services division’s assumption of management of the KVCAP pre-school support grant. 
  • Planned and executed the first four (of eight) extended training events for new grantees (and new staff of currently funded programs).  June & July trainings included understanding Program Management platforms, Member Position Description requirements & Recruitment; Member Agreements & Training requirements; Member Enrollment, NSCHC, and other Human Resource information. A Training on financial management of Fixed Awards was also held.
  • Revised and updated all of the AmeriCorps contract templates to reflect newly adopted local and federal policies and added clarifying language in response to items brought up by funded agencies.
  • Did significant outreach to a wide variety of agencies in anticipation of RFA's this fall for use of returned formula funding and for the normal state competitive AmeriCorps round.  Training Officer collaborated with the Climate Corps Coordinator on outreach to expand Climate Corps using AmeriCorps resources.
  • Met with the New Executive Director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous & Tribal Populations to develop initial plans for collaborating on a variety of potential paths. Set up a consultative component for our grantees at their face-to-face August meeting.
  • Completed the initial level of the Introductory Volunteer Management Micro-Credential and met with Advisory board to review progress.  Continued work on level two.

Issues to be aware of -- 

  • Jake Hurner has taken on the position of recruitment support staff funded out of Commission Investment Funding.  The CIF award this year included instructions requiring a Commission level recruitment support position.  We did not receive enough to fund a full position, so the monies were used to extend the temporary position supporting Service fellows and adding a new component to the job.
  • Recruitment for all programs is improving over recent years. Increases in the living allowance have had a positive impact.  Housing availability and widespread employment options continue to be challenges.  A policy clarification by the federal agency specifying that housing, food, and/or public transportation fare supports are not to be included in the calculation of Maximum Living Allowance has also had salutary impact. Jake Hurner, in our office, has taken on
  • We have three new planning grantees starting in late August.  This is the third cohort of planning grantees funded by the Commission. Initial training will start by the end of the coming month and continue over a 10-month period.
  • Alpha Legal’s planning grant ends in August and targeted support on the creation of their application continues as they plan a submission for the coming formula competition
  • The Federal NOFA for the upcoming competitive grant cycle (and the subsequent Formula competitions) has been released.  Changes to the NOFA inform outreach efforts during the fall. Changes to federal criteria mean revision of state application document(s) and increases the need staff has for supporting applicants, all of which will impact the work cycle in program development and outreach
  • As noted above, DCP submitted and then declined to follow through on acceptance of AmeriCorps funding to extend and expand their Climate Corps program.  Their state reason was a lack of agency capacity and a concern that compliance errors could put the agency at risk.  This risk component seems to have been precipitated by the federal agency’s announcement that they would be returning to cost based disallowances that do not include the option of funding offsets in favor of debt collection payments of non-federal funds.

Major focus of effort in the new month -- 

  • Complete Summer New Grantee Training Series, and additional support to newly starting applicants.
  • Planning grant contract issuance and startup support.
  • Outreach for Formula and Competitive AmeriCorps applicants
  • Complete UMS Micro-Credential development

Other activity --  

  • Frequent AmeriCorps Technical Assistance to existing grantees via email, teleconference & face to face.
  • Staffing Excellence & Expertise Task Force.
  • 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