Washington Service Corps was recently awarded the 2015 Outstanding Service Program as part of the 2015 Innovation & Leadership Awards at the America’s Service Commissions Annual Reception in Arlington, VA.
The Washington Service Corps (WSC), created in 1983 and administered by the Washington State Employment Security Department, is a multi-focused AmeriCorps State program overseeing a consortium of 350 partner sites engaging 750 AmeriCorps members across the state of Washington. WSC AmeriCorps members succeeded in leveraging 37,369 volunteers who donated 761,394 hours of service in its 2013-2014 program year.
“Without the infrastructure of the Washington Service Corps, organizations in severely under-resourced communities with limited capacity would not have access to national service resources like AmeriCorps,” said Debbie Schuffenhauer, executive director of Serve Washington, the state service commission for the state of Washington.
For many years the WSC has managed three national service programs; the WSC program, the Washington Reading Corps, and a large VISTA intermediary program. The WSC constantly promotes collaboration both amongst its own programs and within the larger national service realm.
The WSC model allows for partner organizations to have members as individual placements, small groups, or teams. The WSC conducts such high quality training for their partners that what often starts as a single placement grows and develops into a team. Some of these teams eventually continue to grow and participate in the Serve Washington competitive or formula grant processes, while others apply to be an independent VISTA program. In this way, the WSC assists in grooming and developing organizations to be strong national service programs in their own right.
“We’re pleased to present Washington Service Corps with this honor,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions. “As a statewide intermediary, the Washington Service Corps provides the infrastructure and technical expertise that enables its consortium partners to use evidence-based interventions to respond to locally identified needs in the areas of environmental services, economic opportunity, education, health, veterans, and disaster services.”