Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Celia Winkler

Commitee Members

Dean McGovern, Teresa Sobieszczyk


Program Evaluation, AmeriCorps, Title 1 Schools, MUA/P, Non-profit Organizations


University of Montana


Due to the economic downturn in the United States over the past ten years, many communities have been faced with economic instability affecting their ability to meet the needs of their members (Civic Enterprises Democratic Leadership Council 2009). This is compounded by the reality that recruiting quality professionals into the fields of education, healthcare and nonprofits in the Intermountain West and Northern Plains has traditionally been a challenge. Geographically isolated areas (e.g., rural and frontier communities), qualify as medically underserved areas and/or populations where access to healthcare is limited or difficult to obtain (Murphy 2009). Likewise, many of the elementary and high schools in these areas qualify for Title 1 status (the largest federal funded education program in the United States which provides funds to assist schools with large percentages of students living in poverty) and struggle to retain qualified and dedicated educators. Nonprofits in these areas also have difficulty recruiting and managing volunteers and building their capacity to meet the needs of their local communities. Local universities can provide student volunteers in health care, education and various other disciplines to help fill these needs (Hiyakumoto, Schooley, Cardella, 2010). The Compact Service Corps AmeriCorps program creates a pipeline between local universities and communities, matching student volunteers with local nonprofits and government agencies to fill these gaps in service in the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. As the Compact Service Corps AmeriCorps program is federally funded, it is required to complete an internal evaluation each grant cycle to determine its impact. This report will describe some of the problems communities face in the areas mentioned above, explain the purpose and goals of the Compact Service Corps AmeriCorps program, and provide an evaluation of the perceived impact and effectiveness of the Compact Service Corps AmeriCorps program in meeting community needs.

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