Providing training support for AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members and their supervisors as they work to end poverty in communities around the country is nothing new at Education Northwest.
The organization has been coordinating orientations and creating training resources for the VISTA program since 2001 and has worked with other Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) programs since 1996.
In August, Education Northwest started a new contract that will continue our VISTA work for at least another year with an option for more. The work will be carried out as a subcontractor to our long-time collaborator JBS International.
This means the organization will continue to train over 5,000 incoming VISTAs, supervisors, and VISTA leaders each year and make enhancements to the newly redesigned VISTA Campus, among other activities. Education Northwest will also run 30 sections of the popular VISTA Blend online courses. These college credit-bearing courses teach VISTAs the basics of resource development and volunteer mobilization.
According to Nancy Henry, who directs our work with CNCS programs, there will be a stronger focus on creating and adapting learning resources that facilitate a more effective pipeline for national service participants to transition into jobs in government and the nonprofit sector.
President Obama and the VISTA program are very interested in the successful career transitions of those who serve our nation. We have created some excellent work already in this arena and hope to continue to take it to the next level, so that participation in national service enhances the career trajectories of volunteers and that organizations serving the common good will attract a strong pool of highly qualified, mission-oriented employees. —Nancy Henry
Henry also looks forward to working more closely with JBS International, who will serve as the internal evaluator and have overall responsibility for contract management. “JBS brings a strong evaluative eye to training services,” Henry says. “We have known each other for over 15 years, and I'm looking forward to digging in together to support our VISTA stakeholders.”