Executive Summary

Issue 1: The Commission for National and Community Service Provides a Necessary Ongoing Service which Produces Positive Outcomes for West Virginia.

Since its inception, the Commission has been providing an ongoing service to the state and should be continued. It has increased the amount of Federal funding that it receives for the AmeriCorps program to over $3.6 million a year. The state budgeted the Commission $160,050 in 2001 as a line item under Education and the Arts. This indicates that the Commission brought in over $24 in federal money in 2001 for every state dollar spent.

It has increased the growth of AmerCorps members to 735, which is the second highest per capita membership level in the nation, and the number of AmeriCorps volunteers to 20,207. These members and volunteers work for 14 different programs that cover 53 of West Virginia's 55 counties. These programs' activities range from teaching people to read, spreading health education information in rural areas, tutoring children, repairing and improving housing in the state's coalfields and helping move people from welfare to work.

The State's secondary educational institutions receive around $500,000 a year in Federal funds in the form of educational awards for Americorps members who successfully complete their work requirements. These educational awards allow individuals, who don't have the financial means, to get a better education. If this agency were eliminated, West Virginia would lose all of the funding and benefits previously mentioned.

Recommendation 1

The agency should strive to get AmeriCorps program coverage in all counties in the state.

Recommendation 2

The agency should strive to recruit AmeriCorps members in counties that have no members and counties that have a significantly lower membership.

Issue 2: The Commission for National and Community Service has Developed and Implemented a Web Site to Assist in Providing Information on the Commission and AmeriCorps State Programs

The Commission has developed and implemented a web site called "Connect West Virginia". It can be reached on the internet through its web address of www.connectwv.org. This site contains information on the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service and an AmeriCorps overview from the Commission. All this information is very helpful to individuals and organizations interested in becoming part of AmeriCorps in the state of West Virginia. Although there is no link to the state web site, this site can be easily found through the use of many internet search engines under the search of "West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service".

Recommendation 3

The agency should ensure that a link to the State's homepage is established.