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Michigan AmeriCorps Program: “Summer in the City” AmeriCorps Volunteers

November 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

For the past fifteen years the Michigan AmeriCorps Program connected University of Michigan students from a variety of programs to agencies in Detroit. As part of the larger program, ten urban planning graduate students were placed at community development agencies in Detroit to serve as “Summer in the City” AmeriCorps Volunteers. These volunteers served their agencies in a variety of functions including managing programs, providing technical skills in GIS and statistical analysis, and providing general support to frequently low-budget, high-need community development groups. While the students who participated in this program had a wide variety of experiences, both personally and professionally, they overwhelmingly enjoyed their experience and believe that the need to see these opportunities continue is absolute. In 2011, in exchange for 450 hours of service, the urban planning graduate students received a total of $5,267.00. This included a total living stipend of $3,017 and $2,250 in scholarship or tuition/loan reimbursement, which was paid in September. Approximately $3,000 of this total funding came from AmeriCorps, the rest of the funds were contributed by UM, the agencies and Taubman College. We now face three questions: The first is how do we ensure that urban planning students continue to have a program to stay engaged in Detroit through volunteer/internship/work opportunities? The second is what does a program need to offer students in terms of earnings, credit, and experience in order to be a successful and desirable program? The third is what do we need to provide to partner agencies to ensure that our students have a positive impact and fill a needed role? The purpose of the panel and open forum discussion on Wednesday is to bring together urban planning students, faculty and staff to begin addressing those three questions. The panel portion will feature five students who worked in Detroit last summer, as AmeriCorps Volunteers or otherwise, having a facilitated discussion addressing 4 areas: 1. Interaction with the partner organization/Detroit 2. Interaction with AmeriCorps 3. Overall experience questions 4. How should Urban Planning Department engage in Detroit moving forward All the panel members participated in series of meetings addressing these questions already. The idea is to have these panel members provide feedback that we can use to build on during the second portion of the event, the open forum. The feedback we receive during the open forum will be combined with the feedback from a survey going out to former partner agencies to prepare a proposed program for the Planning Department to pursue for future engagement in Detroit.


November 2, 2011
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm