National Service & Federal Work Study Enable Jumpstart to Break the Cycle of Poverty
BOSTON (May 25, 2017) — If enacted, the budget announced this week by the Trump Administration would be a devastating blow to education and national service. The budget calls for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) — the federal agency that administers national service programs, including AmeriCorps and Senior Corps — providing just enough funding for the next fiscal year to shut down the agency. The budget also proposes significant cuts to Federal Work Study, funding at only 51% of current levels. Together, these programs make the dream of a college education a reality for low-income and working class families across the country, while also providing vital services to the nation’s most under-resourced communities.
Jumpstart seeks to break the cycle of poverty by preparing children to enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. To do this, we rely, in part, on federal funding from AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to support our college and community volunteers in their service to preschool children around the country. Each year roughly 4,000 Jumpstart Corps members serve over 11,000 young children in low-income communities, supporting their language, literacy, and social-emotional development in order to prepare them to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. In 2017 alone, Jumpstart volunteers will provide over 1,000,000 hours of service.
The key to Jumpstart’s success is the service of our college student volunteers, many of whom rely on Federal Work Study to pay for their education. FWS empowers low-income students to realize their dreams of higher education, while lowering their debt burden. This federal program pays colleges and universities 75% of the cost of wages to employ qualifying students at the university itself or at an off-campus for-profit or nonprofit organization. Jumpstart partners with dozens of universities nationwide to provide opportunities for FWS students to serve as Jumpstart Corps members — where they gain invaluable workforce training and the transformative experience of service. Without access to FWS, many of our volunteers would be unable to serve with Jumpstart, and would have to look elsewhere to support their tuition.
The proposed cuts in the administration’s budget come at the expense of today’s children and college students and tomorrow’s educators and leaders.
The proposed cuts in the administration’s budget come at the expense of today’s children and college students and tomorrow’s educators and leaders. Through CNCS and FWS, students are able to make a meaningful impact in their communities while receiving low-cost workforce training so vital to future careers.
“This proposed budget would have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable communities across the country,” said Naila Bolus, President and CEO of Jumpstart. “Without this funding, Jumpstart would be forced to drastically reduce service, leaving thousands of children without the opportunity to develop critical kindergarten-readiness skills through our program. Additionally, thousands of volunteers would lose access to a meaningful and effective workforce training opportunity provided through Jumpstart service. All children, college students, and communities deserve the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed.”
Congress now has the opportunity to write its own Fiscal Year 2018 budget and to protect funding for these programs. Jumpstart — along with City Year, Voices for National Service, and Service Year Alliance — calls on Congressional leaders and longtime champions, including Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and Patty Murray of Washington and Representatives Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, to step up once more to do what is right for children and families in low-income communities across this country and protect funding for CNCS and FWS.
Jumpstart is a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. Jumpstart delivers a research-based and cost-effective program by training college students and community volunteers to serve preschool-age children in low-income neighborhoods. Through a proven curriculum, these children develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for kindergarten, setting them on a path for lifelong success. Jumpstart is also a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. Learn more at jstart.org and follow us on Twitter at @Jumpstartkids.