DES MOINES — Non-profits are having the same struggles as for-profit companies when it comes to finding workers. Recruiters have filled just a quarter of the 50 AmeriCorps assignments in Iowa that are to start in early 2022.
AmeriCorps members must be between the ages of 18 and 25 and they receive health care coverage, a monthly stipend and more than $6300 to cover student loan debt or pay college tuition. Rachel Wagner of the non-profit Conservation Corps for Minnesota and Iowa says the job market is really competitive right now.
“There are so many hiring signs out there,” Wagner says. “When the job market is better, I think people are less likely to do an AmeriCorps program because it’s more of a service thing.”
Most of the job openings in Iowa are for work on conservation-related projects outdoors. Wagner says the crews will be based in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls, but may travel outside Iowa to work in some of the National Parks in the Midwest.
“This is a really great opportunity for a young person who, whether or not they want to get into natural resources work or environmental work, they really can network, build their resume and try something new for just a year or part of a year before starting on another career path,” she says.
Student loan payments are put on hold while an AmeriCorps member is on assignment, too. A recent survey by the National Council of Non-profits found 80% of the organizations were finding it difficult to hire workers.