College Renaissance Corps (CRCorps), a new Campus Compact AmeriCorps program developed to empower community college students to help meet the demands of the workforce, launched this fall at Houston Community College, one of the country's largest community colleges, with funding from OneStar Foundation.
The program will nurture the leadership abilities of community college students across the country by helping them gain work experience in high-demand industries. Students will engage in professional development, build a network of peers and industry leaders, and contribute to their communities' well-being—with the ultimate goal of shaping a more diverse workforce that breaks down socioeconomic barriers and advances a more inclusive economy.
“CRCorps is harnessing national conversations around community colleges, workforce development, and economic empowerment by inspiring talent at community colleges to seize leadership opportunities in their communities and in high-demand fields, which will put them on a path of economic upward mobility that has the potential to uplift entire communities,” CRCorps National Director Eric Lugo said. “CRCorps understands that the future of the workforce starts with the community college students of today.”
“CRCorps is providing leadership opportunities for students to build their professional networks, gain industry work experience, empower their peers, and serve their community,” said Yvonne Nieves, Senior Program Manager of College Renaissance Corps. “Students who enroll in CRCorps will leave our program with a greater understanding of their industry and their community, as well as an increased confidence in their future success.”
CRCorps is guided by the transformative power of national service as a means of workforce development, particularly with diverse student populations like those found at Houston Community College and other community colleges across the country. In the 2020-2021 academic year, for example, enrollment at community colleges was 7% Asian, 12% Black, 26% Hispanic, and 44% white, according to a study of community colleges released by Columbia University. The student population at Houston Community College is 38.5% Latino, 27.9% Black, 14.9% white and 12.9% Asian.
“The CRCorps program builds on OneStar and AmeriCorps Texas’ vision for connecting national service to workforce development,” said Chris Bugbee, OneStar President & CEO. “We’re excited to welcome Compact and CRCorps into our program portfolio, and look forward to following the impact of these AmeriCorps members in their local communities.”
The program is now accepting applications for its inaugural program. Fifteen students will be selected to be 2023-24 CRCorps Industry Ambassadors at Houston Community College. Students will be connected to employers, engage in social media advocacy, and encourage self- and community-reflection that will empower them to become industry leaders civically engaged in their communities. Selected members will earn a 48-week stipend of $24,000 and a Segal Education Award of $4,826.50. To apply, visit: https://compact.org/job-board/crcorps-industry-ambassador.
“Houston Community College is proudly partnering with CRCorps to host their first cohort of CRCorps Industry Ambassadors,” said Alberto Urbina, Dean of Material Science & Smart Manufacturing at Houston Community College. “We are confident the program will provide professional development opportunities that will enhance students’ classroom experience while elevating the value of a community college education and the critical role of high-demand industries in local and national economies.”
At the helm of the nationwide organization’s inaugural program in Houston is Raven Cooper, who will work directly with the members.
“Working with Campus Compact and being a part of the College Renaissance Corps is an opportunity I cherish deeply,” Cooper said. “Through this role I’m excited to connect service to community college education and create a brighter future for our communities.”
CRCorps ultimately aims to develop viable solutions to address pressing challenges like economic instability, youth disengagement, unemployment, and limited access to education skills training, while also narrowing the current and growing skills gap in advanced manufacturing, logistics, and information technology. By focusing on these industry areas, CRCorps will contribute to the development of a skilled workforce capable of meeting the evolving demands of these sectors, fostering self-reliance and bolstering national efforts on economic recovery.