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Bangor coalition awarded new AmeriCorps grant under new Governor-Mayor Initiative

July 2nd, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Maine Commission for Community Service announced funding of a new AmeriCorps program supporting Economic Opportunity in the City of Bangor under a new Governor-Mayor AmeriCorps initiative. The funding provides a coalition of 12 organizations, led by the Mayor's Office, with AmeriCorps members working to increase employment opportunities in the city. Eastern Maine Community College will act as fiscal agent for the program that will operate from fall of 2013 through summer of 2016.  This year the project will be funded at $210,336 and will support 32 AmeriCorps member positions.

The initiative titled "Strategy to Enhance the Lives of People in Bangor ME," will provide job training and other skill development services to increase employment rates. In December of 2012 the unemployment rate for Bangor was 6.6% which is considerably higher than the rates reported for other major metropolitan areas. Portland Maine's unemployment rate was 5.7% for this same reporting period. 

AmeriCorps members will recruit local volunteers to partner with organizations in Penobscot County to address economic opportunity. The focus will be on services that provide job counseling and mentoring as well as access to support systems and resources.  Members will work with partner organizations to offer training on soft skills (applying for a job, resume writing) and skill building.

In the announcement letter from the Corporation for National and Community Service it is noted that the grant cycle was highly competitive this year. The letter states there was a strong demand from organizations seeking AmeriCorps resources while there had been a reduction in available grant funding in the fiscal year appropriation. It goes on to note that they were, "unable to fund outstanding proposals for new programming." And, "Given the high level of competition, we hope that you are especially pleased about the grant award."

The Maine Commission for Community Service administers the AmeriCorps funds allotted to Maine. While serving in communities across Maine, AmeriCorps members volunteer nearly 80,000 hours each year. Since 1994, the Commission has worked to build capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning educators, raising awareness of volunteer sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy or addressing community issues.

CONTACT:          

 Maryalice Crofton
Executive Director
Maine Commission for Community Service
207.624.7781
Service.commission@maine.gov

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