Emerging Corps: Blue Engine’s Nick Ehrmann

Blue Engine's Nick Ehrmann

The New Service podcast show features a service program tackling the challenges of college completion for students from low income families. Blue Engine is now accepting applications for its 2010-11 corps.

In 2010, a new national service corps is getting off the ground. Blue Engine, based in New York City, aims to recruit a corps of about a dozen fellows for the 2010-2011 school year to facilitate daily, differentiated, small-group instruction for high school freshmen.

Our guest is Nick Ehrmann—Blue Engine’s engine and a Teach For America alum— who says that we know how to get high-needs kids into college, or getting them “college eligible” — nonprofits and schools have been targeting and tackling hurdles like high school completion, college admissions, and financial assistance.

But, while the high school drop-out problem is far from solved, groups are paying far less attention to college completion rates for high-needs kids, or “college readiness.”

Blue Engine aims to close the gap between college eligibility and college readiness.

After graduating from Northwestern University in 2000, Ehrmann began his career in education as a Teach for America corps member in Washington D.C. In 2002, he joined forces with local philanthropists to launch the nonprofit “I Have a Dream” Project 312, a youth development program for Nick’s fourth-grade students. In the fall of 2003, he began doctoral work in sociology at Princeton University as a William G. Bowen fellow.

Over the past three years, Nick spent months shadowing his former students in high school classrooms, living with their families, and conducting extensive interviews in the local community, where he has witnessed firsthand the negative effects of academic underperformance on the transition from high school to college. His dissertation—Yellow Brick Road—is scheduled for defense in the spring of 2010.

Idealist’s Amy Potthast talks with Nick about the Blue Engine fellowship, its application deadlines (March 10 and April 28, 2010); the gap between college eligibility and true college readiness; and why it’s crucial to expect more out of high schoolers in order to prepare them for high school and college success, and beyond.

Listen to the show here.

AmeriCorps Connect Launches – New Site to Help You Access AmeriCorps Stuff

Today, the Corporation for National and Community Service announced the launch of its new web portal, AmeriCorps Connect — a one-stop shop for frequently-used national service content.

Frequent visitors to other national service sites like NationalService.gov and AmeriCorps.org will notice that AmeriCorps Connect’s homepage is less-text heavy.

The home page features three types of links, explained this way in today’s announcement:

LEARN includes links to resources designed to help you with the day-to-day aspects of your job such as grant management, member management, and service-related activities.

CONNECT includes social media and other tools, including a wiki to help you collaborate with your staff, partners, and other stakeholders. Use it to create and edit shared documents or other project communications. Subscribe to an AmeriCorps e-mail list, or check out the upcoming national service events Continue reading

Happy Peace Corps Week 2010

This week — March 1st-7th — is Peace Corps Week 2010.

For Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, this is a time to share your experiences in your current community, in fulfillment of the Third Goal of Peace Corps, bringing the world back home:

For people considering Peace Corps service — in the next year or in their “next life” — it’s a prime time to check out a presentation from an RPCV.

Take a look at a new video explaining Peace Corps Week and introducing Peace Corps:

Are you a current, former, or prospective Peace Corps Volunteer? What are you doing for Peace Corps Week?