Preparing for Life After VISTA

Preparing for Life After VISTA

Hello again. I’m officially welcoming you to the webinar. I’m Lois Morgan, host for the webinar. Now you’ve already heard from me. We have a team supporting us today, and I want to start to welcome Liz Matthews from the Corporation for National & Community Service. Take it away, Liz. Great, thanks, Lois. This is exciting to be on a supervisor’s webinar. I had the privilege of doing webinars with VISTAs, but this is my first one speaking directly to supervisors and leaders, so thank you for letting me be a part of this. I’m with the AmeriCorps VISTA Outreach team here at CNCS in Washington, D.C. And this really is an important topic, and I wish that all of these resources were available when I finished serving as a VISTA way back in 1994. So we hope that you’ll take these resources that are available and pass them along to your VISTAs, and thank you for taking advantage of this information today. So back to you, Lois. Thank you, Liz. We’re also joined today by our colleague, Amy Cannata, from Education Northwest in Portland, Oregon. She’s going to be monitoring the Q&A and the chat panels, and helping to facilitate the Q&A. She’s also going to lead us later in the webinar to the VISTA campus to locate some of the important and useful resources that are relevant to this topic. Also Endi Clark from Education Northwest as well, will be managing the back-end functions during the webinar. Well here is what we hope to get out of the webinar today. We would like you to be able to help you VISTAs in identifying specific actions that they’ll need to take to pass off their tasks to the next VISTA or to someone else in the organization. Also to help your VISTAs take meaningful steps to prepare for their own future careers and lives. We’re going to start by taking a 360 approach here. We’re looking at the whole picture of what the VISTAs and you, their supervisors, need to think about prior to the close of service. Let’s start by identifying some of the icons on the graphic here to highlight what needs to be done. On the right side we are dealing with the sustainability part, and on the left side the preparations for future endeavors for VISTAs. Let’s take this sustainability first. There’s a computer and it’s important to update and organize your computer files for the next person in this role. You need to make sure that everything that needs to be documented is documented, including contact lists and other kinds of lists and guidelines so the new VISTA can hit the ground running. Next, you need to meet with key staff and others in the community to inform them of the changes that are going to be happening, and to discuss the transition that’s coming up, what they can expect, what they can do to facilitate things. They need to prepare a need-to-know item for the next person, whether this is guidelines for doing specification tasks, pointers for approaching community groups, some lessons learned from what’s been done before, all of these kinds of things. And lastly, you need to make sure that your paper files are organized to make it easier for the next person to find what they need. Now we’ll turn to the preparing for their own future, and we’ll start at the bottom this time, from the bottom up. Are they interested in starting a career, and if so, what kind of career? Do they need to earn more money before they can decide on, really, what steps they want to take? Do they want to continue doing national service or even international service? And lastly, are they interested in getting some more education, college perhaps or grad school or some kind of technical training? This is really the time that they need to begin thinking about all of these issues. So the first part of this webinar we’re going to be focusing on the first objective, the sustainability part of it. What do VISTAs need to do to make sure their project work continues after they leave? What needs to happen for them to pass off the responsibilities and make it an effective transition? We’re going to start by looking at a typical case. Imagine that you’re a supervisor of this VISTA, Susan. You’ve been conducting weekly one-on-one conferences with her throughout her service and tomorrow is your next meeting. Now, remember, she’s beginning her last quarter of service, she’s nearing her eighth month, and it’s time to begin planning for the transition. Remember, she’s beginning her last quarter, and she’s been very successful, up to now, at recruiting volunteers and engaging many of them to serve as mentors for over seven month. You intend to coach Susan on what she needs to do to prepare for the end of her service term. So what do you think is important for Susan to begin to think about and do to ensure that a smooth transition takes place for the next VISTA? If you could enter your ideas or to-do items in the chat box and make sure you send to all participants. Great. Put together a resource manual for incoming VISTA. Yes. What would that include? Training manual for volunteers, yes. Document when, where, and how she found those volunteers. A lot of good information and points about the volunteers that are working with the organization. Passwords being shared for computer files, yes, very important. Files without passwords are not as useful as they could be. Any other ideas? Here’s an excellent point. What she learned and wished she knew at the beginning of her year to help make the VISTA transition in her position. Community contacts and institutions, yes, very, very important to share that information. Report current projects and future ones, excellent. Lois, this is Amy. It looks like a few people responded in the Q&A with their feedback. So we have one on share resources that are utilized in this course with her. Someone else said take the no-surprises approach and ensure that her contacts know she is leaving and who they should contact after she leaves. Those are two that we had in the Q&A. And just as a reminder, folks, if you can, please put any feedback like this in the chat panel and use the Q&A panel for questions. Thanks, Lois. Great. We’ll give it few more minutes if ideas are coming in. Okay, why don’t we move on to the next. So now let’s consider a variation. What if not only the VISTAs service is ending but the whole VISTA project is coming to a close? What, if anything, would be different in your approach? How would you ensure that the valuable work of you and your VISTAs will be continued? I’m not sure if any of you have experienced this in former work, but it’s a good idea to try to anticipate. Recruit leaders within the MRC units to take on different roles. Work with regular staff to determine who will take over tasks, excellent. Any other ideas? Yeah, a lot of people are pointing to the fact that you have to work very, very closely with the staff to transfer all of the knowledge that we would be transferring to the new VISTA. Here’s a good point, that should be the goal of every VISTA either way. Each VISTA needs to leave office knowing they have done everything possible to ensure project sustainability, whether it is a new VISTA or not. Okay, let’s move on. So why is this transition so important? One of VISTAs four core key principles is sustainable solutions. The other three, as you know, are antipoverty focus, community empowerment, and capacity building. Now as the last sentence of this definition above indicates, the work must go on with or without the help of VISTAs, and it’s the part of the project supervisor and the VISTAs together, responsibility to ensure that it does. That is really the culmination of the VISTAs four core principles operating on the local level. Right, let’s find out what your experiences have been. First we’d like to conduct a quick poll. If your experiences with transitioning VISTAs has been a positive one put a green checkmark next to your name. And if you’d had negative experiences, put a red one — red X next to your name. Let’s see, okay. I see some green checks. More green checks. Oh, one X. We have two Xs, three Xs okay, so we have a mixed bag here. Some people have had good experiences, some people not so good experiences. And some people have had both good and bad experiences. So let’s now hear what some of the issues have been from those of you that haven’t had such good experiences. What’s come up? If you could enter your responses in the chat panel so we could all see them. Okay, one person here has had an experience of VISTAs not being so good about leaving information where their successors can easily find it. Ah, losing the community relationships the first VISTA formed when she left. Yeah, that’s an important thing to try to figure out how to maintain those relationships, how to transfer those relationships. Here’s someone who had an incoming VISTA who didn’t utilize transitional materials created by the out going VISTA. I wonder why that was the case. Some people haven’t had the transition yet. You’re anticipating one. All right, early termination, yeah, that could create some issues. Lois, this is Amy in Portland. I’m noticing a lot of people mentioning early termination, and I just wanted to let folks know that we did a webinar on retaining VISTAs earlier this year, and you can watch the recording on the supervisor webinar page. That might give you some ideas for the next round and how to try to keep those folks for the entire year. I’m noticing a comment from someone here saying they’re a new leader but thinks there is some confusion on what sustainability of the program means for both a supervisor and the VISTA. Our hope is that we can clarify this today. Here’s an interesting idea. It would be great if CNCS would allow overlap so out going VISTA could introduce and train income VISTA. This is Liz. That might take an act of congress to be able to do. I appreciate it. It’s a good idea but probably not so easy to implement. Yeah. Yeah. But I’ll certainly pass it along. Great. Great. Any other final thoughts about this before we move on? Okay, so we’ve explored the sustainability portion of the close of service responsibilities for the VISTA and the supervisor. Now we’re going to turn to the VISTAs themselves and looking ahead. How will they figure out and prepare for what comes after they leave service? Liz Matthews, an experts in all things having to do with VISTA alums, will lead us through this part of the webinar and highlight how supervisors can meaningfully assist the VISTAs in this important phase of their lives. Liz? Thank you, Lois. She’s being generous in her phrase of expert, but I’m happy to lead this session. So let’s take a look and find out do you have a sense of what your VISTAs want to do after they are done serving? So if we were going to launch a poll and we want to find out do you think that your VISTAs are wanting to continue their education? Do you think they’re more career focused? Do you think they want to do some additional service, something else? Or option E, you don’t know but you want to find out? So that poll is in the lower right-hand corner, and we are going to let you respond to that. And Amy and Endi, do you think we’ll be able to get those results before five minutes is up, or should we move on? Yeah, we can get those in just a second. It looks like a few people are still voting. So we’ll go a bit longer and we’ll release those answers to the group. All right, stay tuned everybody. We’ll have an answer here in a minute. So how about we do about 30 more seconds, so go ahead and submit your answers in the poll. Okay, we’re calculating responses, and the answers should show up in just a second here. Drum roll. Okay, launch a career is coming in at number one, with I’m not sure; no answer coming in as number two; and then number three is education and in-service, so that’s great. Oh, no answer, sorry. Sorry, no answer is the second. So if I had to guess, I would have probably said launch a career would have been the second, so that’s great, and we will be spending probably more of the time on that aspect of life after AmeriCorps. Okay, so moving along, what does the future look like? Oh, I’m sorry, first we’re just going to take a look at a couple of statistics. So this is in line with what we found through the exit survey that VISTA members take when they are leaving service, that 70% of them are planning to work at regular full-time or part-time jobs, and that about 30% go on and attend school, either full time or part time, and 19% are still looking for work. So, hopefully, through all of the tools that we have available for VISTAs that you can pass along to them, will help them making look for work a little bit easier. Okay, so we’ve categorized into three areas in terms of life after AmeriCorps, and we’re going to look at education, career, and serving again. So first we’re going to look at education options. And when we talk about education options in this webinar we’re also being inclusive of professional developments, as well as helping your VISTAs navigate college, graduate school, and technical training programs. So as a supervisor and a VISTA leader, one of the best things that you can do for your VISTAs is to encourage them to continue with their own professional development. So by not just allowing but rather encouraging them to spend time each workweek working on their own development such as participating in these types of webinars, and you’ll really be doing them and yourselves a favor. They will become more knowledgeable on a variety of topics that will help them both in their service and beyond. And in terms of helping guide your VISTAs in pursuing additional education there’s a great archived webinar titled “Planning Your Post-Service Career,” and it includes a section on thinking through your options; for example, it addresses five questions to ask before getting further education. And that’s really important to have your VISTAs think about those questions. I think sometimes they automatically think oh I need to go to graduate school. And perhaps they use their Ed award and they end up with a degree and in more debt that they then really had anticipated. So it’s really helpful if you can help guide them to think about and not jump into going back to graduate school and using their Segal educational award wisely. So let’s take a look at some of the resources that are available for helping your VISTAs understand the ins and outs of the education award. And because everyone has different circumstances it really probably is most important that you make sure your VISTAs know about the resources that are available to them to help make their decisions about using the Ed award. So one of the best sites that’s out there is edaward.org and that actually is through — and you’ll get all these links at the end or later in an e-mail, so don’t worry about writing everything down know. But nationalserviceresources.gov/edaward is also how you get there. And this site really is great. It’s very comprehensive, and you can learn more about the award, form a strategy on how to use it, and discover other post-service opportunities related to school and student loans. So there are seven scenarios, and you can see Ayesha there, she wants to buy a laptop for school with her award. So it takes you through different scenarios of using the Education Award in a very informative yet interesting way, so I encourage you to take a look at it so you also know what information is there and can better advise your VISTAs. There’s also, on nationalservice.gov, there is an Ed Award match page, and here there is a listing of many schools that have agreed to help our AmeriCorps alumni by doing things like waving application fees, providing a percentage of matching the Education Award, and in some cases the schools are even doubling the Ed Award and offering thousands of dollars of assistance in the cost of attendance. So that’s really great, and I encourage you to encourage your VISTAs to check that out. And if their school of choice is not on their list there are resources on that page, such as template letters, requesting that a school offer some type of assistance for those who have successfully completed an AmeriCorps program. There is also a great webinar titled, “Using the Education Award and Managing Student Loans.” So edaward.org, nationalservice.gov/edawardmatch, and the archived webinar using the Education Award and managing student loans are all great resources to make sure that your VISTAs know about when they’re exploring the options of using their education award. Okay, so we’re going to move on to career options, and spend probably the most time here, as I said. So when talking to your VISTAs about career options you may want to help them narrow down which sector they would like to work in. Do they want to continue in the non-profit world, and if so, do they want to work for a non-profit organization or a foundation or perhaps an institution of higher learning? If they do want to work for a non-profit, do they prefer direct service, perhaps working at a homeless shelter, or do they prefer working at a national non-profit organizations or working on policy, or perhaps they would prefer an internationally mission-based organization. Those are all different things to think about. And foundations, do they like reviewing and giving out grants, do they prefer the foundation world. And not to forget about educational institutions, because those can be great places to work. I know of a VISTA who served in Pittsburgh, and she moved to the D.C. area, she really want to move here, and she was able to get a job at one of the local universities, and so she’s working full time, and they’re paying her to go to get her Masters Degree. So that’s always a great option. And then of course, there’s the government sector, both city, state, and federal. And because VISTAs are unique, they have the non-competitive eligibility status upon successful completion of service. And so they really might want to consider a career with the federal government because of that. The NCE status does not apply to city or state government, only federal, and it may seem inconsequential to them at the time, but their VISTA service does count towards federal retirement, so that may seem way off this in the future but that can be a real value. There are also many interesting jobs with the federal government and you can encourage your VISTAs to explore job descriptions on usajobs.gov so they can see what typical positions are available at both small and larger agencies. So I’ll speak more to the USA jobs website and noncompetitive eligibility in just a minute. So I’d also encourage you to have your VISTAs concert employment in the private sector for at least a few years during their career. As a matter of fact, I worked at a national non-profit that gave priority to job candidates that had private sector experience because they really saw the value in that. There are certain skill sets that you gain by working in a for-profit environment that are unique to the workplace, certain sense of efficiency and urgency and prioritizing, so that can be really valuable if you stay in the private sector or go back to the public sector. And if they really are dedicated to philanthropic work, today there are many options that companies for social responsibility in corporate philanthropy. All right, so after dividing those different sections let’s dive down into non-competitive eligibility a little bit. This is a topic that is a hot topic for VISTAs. It’s a teaser for them, and they know that it’s a benefit but they’re not quite sure what it means. So as much as you can do to help demystify, that’s great, and we’re doing what we can on this end as well. So some of the important and unique benefits of being AmeriCorps VISTA members is this non-competitive eligibility. Other AmeriCorps programs, AmeriCorps and Triple C, AmeriCorps state and national do not have NCE, only Peace Corp. and AmeriCorps VISTA have it. So the next couple of slides we’re going to guide you through the basics of non-competitive eligibility. And because the status is very attractive to federal employers we created a job board forum on the campus, so that’s the screen shot that you see there. And while this job work forum is used to post a variety of positions, in fact many of you may have used it before to post VISTA member positions and leader positions, it really is our main vehicle for other federal agencies to recruit VISTA alums with non-competitive eligibility. So you can see here the circle highlights an opportunity that was posted a while back with the EPA in San Francisco. And I’m constantly putting up new ones there, so there’s a lot of opportunity, and if your VISTAs do want to work for the federal government, make sure that they’re looking at this job board forum. All right, so another great resource for understanding non-competitive eligibility is this online course that we developed. This is a screen shot from the course, and you can get to it from the alumni section of the campus under the quick link box, and where that arrow is down at the bottom is non-competitive eligibility. So this tutorial explains it further, but here on this webinar, in 30 seconds or less, NCE is a special hiring appointment that’s granted to AmeriCorps VISTA alumni and return Peace Corp. volunteers, as I mentioned. It permits but does not require a federal agency to hire a VISTA who meets the minimum qualifications for the position. So this hiring appointment does not guarantee the job but it can greatly reduce the time to bring on a new employee, which is a huge incentive for federal hiring managers. The position may or may not be open to the general public, so a lot of the positions that are posted on the job board, they’re not having to compete with the general public. These federal managers, federal hiring managers are sending us the job descriptions to post to our audience because that’s who they want to recruit. So the federal agencies use NCE at their own discretion. And just keep in mind that CNCS and AmeriCorps VISTA, we do not control this process. So encourage your VISTAs to put the fact that they have non-competitive eligibility status on their resume and in their application, and mention it in the cover letter. We are also doing our best to educate federal hiring managers about why AmeriCorps VISTA alums make great job candidates, and the fact that they have NCE. Because not every hiring manager knows what AmeriCorps VISTA is and the fact that our alums have NCE. So currently we really are working hard to educate both the members, leaders, and supervisors, as well as going around to different federal agencies and educating the federal hiring managers about AmeriCorps VISTA. Okay, so this is a screen shot of USA jobs, and when a candidate creates a profile they can identify themselves as a person with a non-competitive appointment eligibility. That’s what’s circled there on the screen shot. That’s the same thing as non-competitive eligibility, but, of course, it has to be a little bit more difficult and not the be exact language. But it’s the same thing. We’re also actually working with the Office of the Personnel Management, which is the federal agency that runs USA jobs, to get them to have there be a box that people can check if they served with AmeriCorps VISTA. So hopefully, in the near future, that will happen. But until then, we need to just make sure that our alums know that if they have NCEs they just mark it in their profile as a person with non-competitive appointment eligibility. So I also wanted to point out that there are three reasons to extend NCE. Technically, NCE lasts 12 months, and it starts the day after somebody has completed their service, so if they end on July 1st, their NCE status starts ticking on July 2nd. But it can be extended for an additional two years, for a total of three years from that end-of-service date, and there are three reasons for this extension. The first is after service if they enter the military, the second is if they become a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning, and the third is if they engage in another activity that the hiring agency thinks warrants an extension. So that’s the grayest of the three areas. It really is up to the federal hiring manager. But, for example, if the VISTA went on to have an internship or another job that is really related to the job that they’re applying for, and it’s giving them additional experience, then the federal hiring manager can say, okay, well that makes sense. They’re an even a better candidate after having that internship, I’m going to extend their NCE. But, again, it really is up to the federal hiring manager. All right, so VISTAs often wonder how they can prove their NCE status. They will be able to go onto the My AmeriCorps portal, and under “My Service Letter,” where you see that big arrow, they’re able to select their term of service and their letter type. So technically it’s called the “VISTA Certification of Service with Non-compete.” Now the slightly confusing thing is that people like to apply for jobs before they end their service, which is very responsible, but they are not able to generate this letter stating that they have NCE until after their term of service is over. So what we encourage them to do is, in their application and in their cover letter, just let it be known in those communication tools that they will have NCE as of July 2, and then that should be sufficient. So, again, you can get to this screen shot from the quick-links box. And all of this is relevant, for many reasons, but it’s also exciting that we have upcoming in-person hiring event. It is in Washington D.C., so that is obviously more convenient for those who live in this area. However, there might be opportunities across the country at other times, and they are also hiring for locations that are not just in D.C., so we should be posting some of these positions on the job board forum that I showed you earlier. So this is a special hiring event that we’re doing in conjunction with the Peace Corp., and there will be hiring managers there from the Department of Transportation, HUD, and the Department of Energy, and it’s coming up next Wednesday, on June the 25th. And there is a registration link that will be sent around, along with the other links from this call so you can forward that to your VISTAs. If they are interested in registering, they need to do so by this Monday. So that’s a unique opportunity, and we hope to be able to offer more of that type of thing. They can also check out the details on the VISTA campus calendar. Okay, so let’s go ahead and open it up to some questions. I’m seeing some in the chat room here. Let’s see, is there a flier — Liz, this is Amy here in Portland, and I’m happy to share some of the questions we’ve had up to this point. That would be great. Okay, so Crystal wanted to know if you had an idea of what percentage of VISTAs continue for a second year of service or continue on as leaders? That’s a great question, and we probably do have that information. I do not have it off the top of my head. So, Amy, perhaps you and I can touch base on the follow up and get that to everybody, in addition to the links and other things that you’ll be sending out after the call. Absolutely. And then Erin Clemens wanted to know, does NCE extend to members who leave service early? No, it does not. They have to complete a full term of service, even if they leave for compelling reasons. Great. And then Steve was asking, my VISTA is in her second service term. Is the NCE letter available for the first term she completed? It should be, yes. And so then if someone served a second term, then their eligibility would be the year after that second term; is that correct? That is correct. And just because you served two terms doesn’t mean that it then automatically lasts for two years after that. It would still just 12 months, and then if you were to be able to extend it based on any of the three reasons that I listed. Great. And I see someone was asking — Lauren asked if there’s a flier that you can send out. Do you have a flier, Liz, or is sending out the link to NCE tutorial our best bet? There is a — I wasn’t sure what she was referring to in terms of a flier, so if it’s a non-competitive eligibility flier, there is a PDF from that tutorial that is an FAQ. That might be the best option in terms of a flier, and that’s probably a good idea and we should do. Okay, and then there was a question about –think it’s already been asked and answers. Go ahead. I’m sorry, she is clarifying that the flier, I think, was for the job fare in D.C., and, yes, actually there is a flier for that. So, Amy, I’ll make sure to get that to you in all the follow up. Okay, great. And then Victor was asking if VISTAs leave service early does it affect the organization from applying for future VISTAs in the future? I’m not sure I can answer that. It’s not great. But I don’t think that that organization’s name is entered into a list of organizations that will never again get a VISTA. So I really — I don’t have a good answer for that, but it doesn’t mean that you’d never get another VISTA. Okay, so I think we’ve answered all the questions. Facilitators, do we have any other questions at this point? Or audience members, if you have additional questions for Liz, feel free to type those into the Q&A panel. All right, well if there aren’t other questions, actually a nice transition from Lauren is that they have about 30% of their VISTAs do a second year at her organization. So that’s a great point, and many people do decide to serve again. I think it looks really good on a resume to have a couple years of service, either as a member and then as a leader, or mixing it up and doing a couple different AmeriCorps programs, and, of course, there’s also the Peace Corp. I call it a double legacy when somebody’s done this and the Peace Corp. I think it’s a really nice complement if you’re going — if you really want to go into the non-profit arena, it sets you up nicely for both national and international NGO work. So I would encourage people to do that if they can afford it, both time-wise and living on that living allowance for those years. So, yeah, if people are confused and they don’t really know what they want to do next, make sure that your VISTAs know that they can serve another year. They can either go to a different organization, or if things going really well and you’re in the lifecycle of your grant, that it’s okay for them to serve again at your organization. You can encourage them to continue on, and, likewise, if they want to get experience with another AmeriCorps program. You all may be well versed in the other streams of service, but just really quickly, AmeriCorps and Triple C is the National Civilian Community Corp., and that’s a full time team-based residential program for men and women ages 18 to 24. They do a lot of disaster preparedness and environmental work and direct service, and then, of course, there’s AmeriCorps state/national, and those members also do direct service in the fields of education, public safety, health and the environments. And I touched on Peace Corp. And then also encouraging people, as they go on in their life after AmeriCorps, that we hope that VISTAs continue a lifetime of service and being active citizens. It’s our hope that what members learn during their term of service that they will carry on with them throughout their lives, so being active citizens, whether that’s voting, whether that’s serving on a school board, whether that’s being a volunteer at a local hospital or literacy program or after-school program, it’s really great to know that this is often — or not done, this really is a lifetime commitment to improving the communities across our country. And one other thing that we wanted to touch on as an important benefit of AmeriCorps VISTA is the public service loan forgiveness. So this can be very useful if your VISTAs are planning on working in the public sector over the long haul, and it may even influence their decisions about appropriate paths to take. So there’s a great — there’s information about this program. It’s a great resource on the VISTA campus under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. So it’s this program that can eliminate federal student loans if the VISTAs work for ten years full time at a non-profit or government agency. So make sure they know about that resource. Okay, we’re going to take just a quick look at a couple of alumni profiles. These profiles are courtesy of AmeriCorps alums. So this is Andriana, and she was able to build content expertise in a variety of service experiences that supported her pursuit of a Masters in Social Justice. So she served two terms with VISTA, and that experience led her to get her Masters in Social Justice and Human Rights. So it really put her where she needed to be in order to go on to get that graduate study work done. And then in our second profile, Marchelli brought new skills from her service into existing relationships and networks to return to Houston, her hometown, after VISTA, and she is now able to work for the City of Houston as a community involvement coordinator. So by doing her AmeriCorps VISTA service, it really put her in a great position to have this job with the City of Houston. So those are just a couple of real-live examples of how the cultivated area of expertise led the VISTAs to their next career or education move. We just wanted to also make sure that you all knew about AmeriCorps alums and could pass this information along your VISTAs. So they are a separate non-profit organization that offers support in a nationwide network for alumni of all streams of service, and they have chapters across the country which can help VISTA members, both during and after service. So you can go to americorpalums.org to learn more about them and what they’re doing, and connect with their chapters and their social media. So now I’ll turn it over to Amy who is going to help us navigate some of these great resources on the VISTA campus. Thanks, Liz, and thank you everyone. Great questions coming in. One of the things that someone just asked in the Q&A was are there transition resources like resume tips, job resources, et cetera? And, yes, there are. And let me go ahead and share some of those with you right now. I’m going to go ahead and navigate to the VISTA campus, and that’s vistacampus.org, so this may look familiar to many of you. Dot gov, Amy, vistacampus.gov. Oh, I’m sorry, .gov, vistacampus.gov. No offense. And for VISTA members themselves, they can go to this section called “Life as a VISTA,” and we’ll be sure to include these links. And then there’s a link that says “Life after VISTA,” and this section includes a variety of different resources for them to use to make decisions and plan for their future, including the resources Liz mentioned about the education award, non-competitive eligibility, close of service, fact sheets around travel, and all kinds of different resources that they can use, including some courses that they can take to help them work on their resume and also plan for the future. So this is under the member section, and you have access to this as well. And I’m going to navigate to this little compass, which will take us to your section for supervisors. This may look familiar to many of you. Under life as a supervisor, which is the desk icon here you’ll go to the coffee mug for transitioning, and we have a variety of different categories. One that I think dovetails nicely with the first section that Lois was talking about is called “Passing the Project Torch.” And here we have a checklist for completing service that helps you know what your VISTA may need to do in order to pass the torch for their next member. I know that was a question that someone had listed in the chat panel. They weren’t sure exactly what the VISTA should collect and prepare, and this checklist can help you with that. There’s also a sample exit binder, so if your member were to prepare a binder that they would pass on for the next VISTA member, there is a sample of what that could look like. There’s also a letter from a former member that — it’s a sample of something they wrote for the next person who would be coming in to fill their shoes. So there’s a variety of different resources here under “Passing the Project Torch.” I’m going to navigate back here. We also have the section for — there’s some information on reflection for your member and also gathering feedback from them. But I want to take a peek at graduating VISTAs. Again, the same links that are on the member side are available here. A lot of them are little courses that they can take, what’s next, the Ed Award, NCE. VISTA Works helps them engage in a career exploration process to decide what they want to do next. And then there are some other things around translating your service into job speak and other ideas for career in service and jobs in the public service field. So these are all resources available to your members to help them plan their future. Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and navigate back to the PowerPoint. And let’s see if we have any questions. Any questions about what we just showed you? You can feel free to enter those into the Q&A panel. Okay, Liz, I don’t see any questions, so I’m going to turn it over to you again. Thanks so much. Sure. Thanks for that quick tour, Amy. And we just wanted to point out really quickly here — we’re almost done — a couple of additional webinars that you might want to make sure your VISTAs know about. There is the second part of a series that we have done on working with the federal government. We just had the first session last week on “Finding and Applying to Federal Jobs,” and there were over 600 VISTAs that attended that, so it’s a hot topic. So the second phase is “Learn How to Write a Federal Government Resume,” and that is on July 22. So make sure your VISTAs know about that. And a few of the archived webinars that I wanted to point out, I just mentioned that first one, “Planning Your Post-VISTA Career,” “Resume Writing” is a really helpful one, as well as “How to use LinkedIn for Your Service and Your Career.” We really want to make sure that AmeriCorps VISTA members are properly identifying themselves within LinkedIn because people do do searches on AmeriCorps VISTA, so encourage them to not only put the name of your organization but to put themselves as an AmeriCorps VISTA as their title. So that’s a great tool that people should be using, and that’s a webinar on getting into a little more detail on that. And I think that’s it. So we can go ahead and take a few more questions in the Q&A, and then we can go ahead and set up the evaluation so people can be doing that while we take any final questions. And I’ll turn it back to Lois. Thank you. Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you are still concerned about or have questions about? We’d love to hear it. So Erin Clemens had a question, Lois. She wants to know what would you tell a first-time supervisor about transitioning, and I guess that’s open to any of our panelists. Well I’ll just take an initial stab at that. I think one of the most important things is that it’s critical, that it’s a critical phase, and that both for the project itself and for the VISTA members who are there. Again, the two-pronged — you know, the critical aspect for sustainability that the project needs to keep going and growing, as well as the VISTAs future. Liz, any thoughts? I think that’s exactly right. I don’t have anything additional to add. Okay. Any other questions, concerns? I just wanted to add an idea to Erin’s — the question you answered for Erin about what you would tell a first-time supervisor. I think it’s also important that members start informing their community partners ahead of time, maybe a couple month before the end of their service, so that they can prepare the community partners and the other people that they serve along side that they will be transitioning so it’s not a big surprise, sort of an abrupt ending, but that it’s something that’s gradually introduced into the conversations and interactions ahead of time. Yeah, Casey is even saying transitioning starts with day one, because it is so much easier to assemble information over the course of service. So, you know, maybe as they introduce themselves into the community, say, “I’m here for a year,” and, you know, letting it be part of the conversation from the beginning is probably a good idea. Yeah, great point. Barbara is suggesting that we plan and that you plan additional conversations about halfway through service. That’s a very good idea. You can’t start soon enough. Have a one on one to work out a work plan. Yes, these are excellent ideas, because this needs to been an intentional activity. It won’t happen if you’re not planning it, yeah. Exactly. And I would just add that it’s one more way for you to show, as a supervisor, that you are caring about this individual or those individuals that you are supervising, which leads to retention. I mean I just think it’s a wonderful thing if halfway through the service year you say, “Hey, Susan, how’s it going? What are you thinking about doing next?” And help guide them through that and coach them through those next steps. I think that is a real gift that you can give to your VISTAs. Yeah, absolutely. So this is Amy checking the Q&A panel here, and I don’t see anymore questions, so let’s do a last call for questions, and otherwise I think we can start wrapping up. I see one question from Crystal. If someone decides to serve a second year at the same site, what are some to-do’s? Is there any paperwork to know about beforehand? Liz, are you familiar with that? I saw that question, and to be honest, I’m not sure what happens. I know they don’t need to go to PSO again. But I’m not sure. That’s not my area of expertise, but we can certainly find out. Okay, great. Question for the group? As you work with your VISTAs, do you feel that they measure their success based on their milestones, or is there some other measurement that you feel identifies their success? It’s an interesting question. Any thoughts about that, Liz? I’m sorry, I’m just noticing that Annette said they just had to let their state office know that there VISTA was continuing. So that’s a quick answer on that one. In terms from Molly, yeah, I mean I think as you work with your VISTAs, they really can take the accomplishments that they have and turn that into their resume, and the milestones that they are able to achieve through the work that they’re doing with their VAD should transition into short statements on their resume that they then have been able to measure for success. So I’m not quite sure exactly what you’re asking there, but I think being able to accomplish what they are setting out to do in the VAD and getting those — summarizing them in a way that can translate into a resume and translate into a life after AmeriCorps is something that you all can help them with. Here is a comment from Lauren who adds that, in addition to the VAD, is really feedback from the community. And another person is saying success is based upon relationships and the connections within the community. This is an important part of it. Uh-huh, absolutely. I mean if they’re getting recognition from the wider community that speaks even greater to the work that we’re doing. Right. Yeah, absolutely. Excellent, excellent ideas. Excellent thoughts. We have a few minutes — oh, sorry. I was just going to say, yeah, we’re over the hour. We’re a few minutes past 3:00. If there are further questions, we could probably extend for a few minutes, but if not, we wanted to wrap things up now. I’ll wait about 30 seconds for a few more questions. And if not, we’re just going to wrap it up. Okay, why don’t we wrap it up now. Thank you everyone for attending the webinar. As we’ve indicated a couple of times, this has been recorded, and we’re going to be posting it on the Sups webinar shortly, as well as the links to all the specific resources that we’ve mentioned. Remember, again, that you could listen to the earlier archived webinars any time on the VISTA campus. Quite a few of them that were mentioned just a little earlier are really, really very useful and beneficial for this topic of closing service. And if you could complete the evaluations that appear once you close the WebEx, we would appreciate it very much. Again, thank you all for joining. Thanks everyone. Thank you everyone.
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