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.

Teach For America Podcast Transcript

Aaliyah El-Amin

Aaliyah El-Amin

Below is the transcript of our August podcast, “An Interview with Teach For America Alumna Aaliyah El-Amin.” Huge thanks to podcast intern Sara Lozito, an AmeriCorps team leader, for work in creating the transcript. Listen to the show here.

Amy: Welcome to the Idealist podcast. I’m Amy Potthast and this is the The New Service Podcast from Idealist.org – moving people from good intentions to action.

This month I chatted with Aaliyah El-Amin, a Teach For America alumna.

In 2000, at age twenty, Aaliyah graduated from Davidson College and joined Teach For America to teach 4th and 5th grade in Atlanta, Georgia. After leaving the corps and working as an instructional facilitator at her placement school, Aaliyah became the executive director of Teach For America Charlotte. She’s currently a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in in Education Policy, Leadership and Instructional Practice.

Hi Aaliyah, welcome to the show. Continue reading

Career Podcast, Networking for Nonprofit Careers!

The newest Idealist.org Careers podcast features an interview with my colleague Meg Busse, co-author of the Idealist.org Guide to Nonprofit Careers.

The Guide walks job seekers through all the steps of the nonprofit job search, from describing the nonprofit sector and self-assessment to developing a stellar resume and interview skills. The book is available in two versions — for the first-time job seeker, and for the sector-switcher— for free on our website.

Meg Busse is the Coordinator of High School and College Career Transitions at Idealist. Along with creating resources, she works with career professionals and guidance counselors to connect students with careers in the nonprofit sector.

I interview Meg about Chapter Four of the career guide, “Networking.” We discuss the value of building relationships to begin and sustain a nonprofit career through volunteering and through informational interviews.

Listen now.

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AmeriCorps*NCCC Members Earn Certification through American Humanics

AmeriCorps’s conservation corps partners with American Humanics to offer corps members certification in nonprofit competency.

Also note that AmeriCorps*NCCC has new deadlines: April 1 (summer class) and July 1 (winter class).

Recognizing that a term of service is a valuable education, American Humanics (AH) offers ncccAmeriCorps*NCCC corps members the opportunity to count service hours towards AH nonprofit certification.

A national organization that offers educational opportunities on nonprofit management topics to undergraduates throughout the United States, AH has been “preparing tomorrow’s nonprofit leaders” since 1948. Around 3,000 students across the country are engaged in AH programs at 70 colleges and universities. Many of these students are working towards AH certification.

(Note that neither AH nor any other nonprofit management certification is required to get a program-management job in the nonprofit sector. Some public service roles do require certification. Read more about professional certification — and how to assess the value employers place on it — on Idealist.org’s Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center.)

The requirements of typical AH certification include 300 hours of approved internship service, general engagement in nonprofit leadership activities, academic coursework, a Bachelor’s degree, and completion of one AH Management Institute (the organization’s annual conference). What this means for NCCC corps members and alumni:

  • AmeriCorps*NCCC members serve for 1700 hours which more than achieves the internship and nonprofit leadership objectives of certification.
  • NCCC’s extensive training throughout the 10-month term of service counts for most of the academic course work requirements.
  • NCCC alumni must attend one AH Management Institute to complete some of the course requirements.
  • For the remaining course requirements, NCCC alumni can take courses at AH partner schools. Louisiana State University’s Shreveport campus allows NCCC members and recent alumni to take the needed courses  online—paying in-state tuition. (The Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award can apply to the costs of these courses.) LSU Shreveport also waives the GRE requirement for NCCC alumni taking these courses.
  • If NCCC corps members haven’t finished their Bachelor’s degree yet, AH gives them seven years to complete it in order to be eligible for certification.

AmeriCorps*NCCC is the branch of AmeriCorps that is a conservation corps, modeled after the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps. NCCC stands for National Civilian Conservation Corps and is pronounced “N-triple-C.” The program is team-based and residential, for people aged 18-24. Teams travel to a variety of work sites throughout the 10-month term of service, exposing the young people to a variety of new service experiences. NCCC has been instrumental in rebuilding New Orleans and Mississippi in the wake of Hurrican Katrina in 2005. Each team is based out of one of the following campuses: Denver, CO; Sacramento, CA; Perry Point, MD; and Vinton, IA

AmeriCorps*NCCC is accepting applications through April 1, 2009, for its summer-start class, and July 1, 2009, for its winter-start class.

Learn more by listening to the Idealist.org podcast with Katrina Mathis on AmeriCorps*NCCC.

AH also has its own AmeriCorps program called AmeriCorps*ProCorps. ProCorps members serve from 450-1700 hours and earn the Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award (up To $4,725 for the full 1700-hour term).

Podcast! AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps

This month’s Idealist Careers Podcast features Amy Ravis Furey of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps.

AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps offers young people a chance to affect social change while deepening Amy Ravis Fureytheir commitment to Jewish life by serving for a year at an anti-poverty organization in Chicago, New Orleans, New York, and Washington, DC.

As with other service corps, AVODAH’s corps members earn a basic stipend. They also live in community with other corps members, and work on group building, negotiation, and conflict resolution. In partnership with the American Jewish World Service, AVODAH’s alumni find networking, support and training.

Herself an alumna of Avodah, Amy Ravis Furey serves as New York City Program Director for AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. After earning her Masters in Social Work from Hunter College with a concentration in community organizing and group work, she served as an organizer for the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and as the Social Justice Coordinator at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Amy is the first Avodah alum to serve on staff as a program director at one of the AVODAH sites.

I speak with Amy Ravis Furey about the influence of AVODAH in her career path, and her mission of lifting up youth to change the world. We talk about the role of Jewish social justice teaching, the alumni nework, and the impact AVODAH has had in the world and on its corps members.

Listen to the show here!

For more information, join AVODAH staff on a conference call tonight (11/19) at 9 pm, or on December 2. The deadline to apply for the 2009-10 year is February 6th, 2009.