The federal volunteering agency AmeriCorps has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch a program designed to recruit and train public health leaders as the pandemic rages on.
AmeriCorps unveiled its partnership with the CDC on Wednesday, saying the Public Health AmeriCorps program was funded by $400 million in the American Rescue Plan and is expected to support up to 5,000 AmeriCorps positions over the next five years.
Public Health AmeriCorps will mostly send AmeriCorps members to help in state, local, tribal and territorial public health departments, with a strong suggestion that at least two members be present at each location. Applicants for the positions have until Nov. 8 to submit their applications.
Through AmeriCorps, the project aims to give capacity and support to state and local communities and promote more equitable health care for underserved populations. The program also intends to advocate for more people to go into the public health field through exposure and hiring members who would be a good fit for public health agencies.
“The experience and networks AmeriCorps brings to this partnership provide a valuable opportunity to engage communities around the United States, including many people who may have never considered a deeply fulfilling career in public health,” CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Alrtia — Booster shots get bipartisan rollout Biden gets vaccine booster shot, calls it 'safe and effective' Biden to receive booster shot today MORE said. “This program is a critical component of CDC’s effort to develop a strong, diverse workforce to face the public health challenges of the future.”
A press release from both agencies said AmeriCorps was “uniquely positioned to bolster community response" levels, as it reaches more than 40,000 locations across the country. Thousands of members have already served in all 50 states and territories during the pandemic.
After about a year and a half, the pandemic has infected more than 4.2 million Americans and led to more than 650,000 fatalities. High official turnover has also plagued public health departments throughout the pandemic, as several officials were thrust into the spotlight and endured harassment.