The Peace Corps is preparing to roll out its second-ever domestic deployment, recruiting volunteers to help assist with COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
The move is the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that the Peace Corps, which sends volunteers to serve in 61 countries around the world, will be deploying teams to help fellow Americans.
It comes a year after the Peace Corps evacuated all of its roughly 7,300 volunteers around the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The program will only be open to evacuated volunteers, who will be serving in various Federal Emergency Management Agency posts.
“The Peace Corps works hand-in-hand with communities on their most pressing challenges, and right now the U.S. faces some of the biggest challenges in our country’s history,” acting Director Carol Spahn said in a release.
“The volunteers who contribute to this effort will bring valuable cross-cultural experience, language skills and adaptability fostered during their time overseas as they contribute to an equitable vaccination campaign here at home.”
The Peace Corps expects volunteers will be deployed into the field by mid-May.
When the Peace Corps first evacuated its volunteers, it promised to provide opportunities to reenter the program, allowing them to continue with their service once conditions were safe.
That process, however, has been stymied as the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe.
The agency is currently posting positions in numerous countries starting no sooner than early 2022.
"We are working to bring volunteers back to the field as soon as conditions permit and depending on how the COVID-19 situation evolves. Given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and uneven timeline of vaccine distribution, it is challenging to establish the exact timing for the Peace Corps’ return to service. As conditions improve, the Peace Corps will continue to coordinate with our host country partners to identify the appropriate timing to welcome Volunteers back to service," a Peace Corps spokesperson told The Hill.