They believe it should be part of their civic duty, help solve problems in their communities, and enable them to gain real world experience in an uncertain job market
WASHINGTON, DC – Public opinion polling of 1,000 18–24 year old adults found near universal support for expanding national service opportunities through AmeriCorps (81%), and a great majority of them (71%) would consider serving in AmeriCorps. In overwhelming numbers, young people believe national service can be part of one’s civic duty (87%), help them solve problems in their communities (86%), and enable them to gain real world experience before entering an uncertain job market (85%).
“This poll confirms unprecedented interest among our nation’s young people in serving with AmeriCorps. Overwhelmingly, they believe there should be an increased investment in national service so that more Americans can serve,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “Young people are concerned about the job market and they want to give back to their communities and our nation. AmeriCorps gives them the chance to accomplish both—it’s a win-win all around.”
“Young Americans are passionate about serving their country, whether through the military or critical programs like AmeriCorps. This poll shows us just how widespread that passion is,” said Rye Barcott, Co-Founder and CEO of With Honor Action. “As leaders in Washington look for ways to expand AmeriCorps, they should know a bi-partisan coalition of young Americans have their backs.”
The poll, conducted by TargetPoint Consulting and GQR in April 2021 for Voices for National Service, the leading coalition of hundreds of nonprofits and state service commissions that partner with AmeriCorps across the country, and With Honor Action, which advances principled cross-partisan veteran leadership in Congress, further found that:
- Young adults (aged 18-24) are very concerned about the current job market (80%), and a strong majority (71%) are considering signing up or have signed up for AmeriCorps.
- Concerns over the economy and enthusiasm for service are extremely high for young people across political, regional, and economic demographics.
- Young people consider doing their civic duty as the best reason to join AmeriCorps.
- Young people view direct service in their communities as the most effective way to make change (89%), more than serving in government, working in politics, or joining the private sector.
- Young people overwhelmingly support additional federal funding for AmeriCorps.
- 81% said that it was a good idea to increase the budget for AmeriCorps in the most recent COVID-19 relief package and 79% think it would be a good idea to have additional funding this year.
- Active duty and those considering the military (91%), and people who live in a household with a veteran (88%) widely see AmeriCorps as another avenue to traditional service and a major benefit to the country.
“In today’s highly charged atmosphere the near universal embrace of national service by young people across political affiliation, demographic, and economic situations is extremely rare,” said Michael Meyers, President, TargetPoint Consulting. “It’s wonderful to see.”
“The extraordinary support within and across communities, groups, and people is particularly heartening,” said Anna Greenberg, Managing Partner, GQR. “In this difficult economy, young adults from all racial and demographic groups want to serve their communities through AmeriCorps.”
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members across the country have acted quickly and creatively to address the very gaps in services and persistent inequities that have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have delivered millions of meals, conducted hundreds of thousands of wellness checks, expanded access to health screenings, set up temporary isolation sites, organized blood drives and are providing virtual teaching, tutoring, and mentoring to students.
The poll comes in advance of a major bipartisan push led by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) to expand AmeriCorps, who recently reintroduced the CORPS Act. The bill would expand AmeriCorps and create new opportunities for young people to work on hunger, education, and economic challenges.
Congress recently passed $1 billion in the American Rescue Plan to significantly expand AmeriCorps to help the country respond to and recover from COVID-19, and to increase the benefits for those who serve so that more diverse young people have the opportunity to give a year of national service. Current federal funding for AmeriCorps, however, only provides for 75,000 spots nationwide annually – far less than what is needed during these extraordinary times, even with the one-time $1 billion increase.