AmeriCorps Reviews | Glassdoor

AmeriCorps Reviews

Updated July 21, 2017
204 reviews

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3.0
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AmeriCorps Director Rosie K. Mauk
Rosie K. Mauk
26 Ratings

204 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • It's also a really nice way to explore the world of non-profit work (in 60 reviews)

  • Working with an organization that strives to make a difference in communities (in 22 reviews)

Cons
  • The living stipend is pretty dismal (in 45 reviews)

  • You are paid below the minimum wage (in 31 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "AmeriCorps VISTA Project Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AmeriCorps full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    1) AmerCorps looks good on a resume 2) they help pay off student loans at the end of your term 3) the webinars offered online are often helpful.

    Every other positive experience I had this year was solely because of the organization I was placed at. My organization happened to have a great mission, incredibly supportive employees, and my supervisor was wonderful. My organization was almost the only positive thing about my whole experience.

    Cons

    The greatest con is that they do NOT offer support to their VISTA's. We all agreed to take this low pay; the problem is it is supposed to be based on your county (people working in NYC get paid more than those in a small town because of the higher cost of living) but I was placed in a very wealthy neighborhood and still made the lowest stipend amount. The only housing I could afford was an hour commute away.

    They do not help you find a place to live. They do not help with gas. They take you on as a national service volunteer, say how proud they are of the work you are doing, and then turn their heads and leave you to your own devices for absolutely everything.

    I had severe car problems that I could not afford to fix that prevented me from getting to work for 2 weeks - i had to use sick days for these weeks - i called VMSU and asked about an emergency assistance fund and was told repeatedly there is none. I had to start a GoFundMe to pay for a new car. I found out months later that there might have actually been an assistance fund for me.

    Everyone working at VMSU (vista member support unit) sounds like they are new and they basically read every response right out of the handbook. I understand that certain questions have answers that are in the VISTA handbook; the reason I would call VMSU is because something is unclear or i have questions, and they could never answer these extended questions. So then what support are you actually giving me?

    I have called VMSU four times before regarding a single matter and they kept saying that i was on a list and they would call back; they never did.

    They do not help you apply for food stamps. You do that independently.

    For our project, they had regular "professional development calls" that were unorganized and in no way offered professional development....

    I work a part time job (60 hours a week) to make ends meet.

    Advice to Management

    Pay VISTA members more! I understand we do not need to be making $50,000 a year, but less than $12,000 a year is not enough. Every other VISTA I know is extremely stressed about money, myself included, and this makes it MUCH MORE DIFFICULT to focus and work well at work. Stressed workers are not happy or efficient workers, and the claim that we are paid that amount to understand living in poverty seems like a gimmick.

    Provide actual support to your VISTA members, listen to our advice on what to do better. The majority (almost 20) of VISTA members that I know are very unhappy about the same topics. There needs to be changes made.


  2. "Good for some, bad for others"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AmeriCorps full-time

    Pros

    - Helps get a 'foot in the door' for your ideal career path
    - Gives you an idea of what that particular industry is like to work with
    - Is great for continuing education and experience

    Cons

    - Living on my own, it was very difficult to pay my bills on the stipend. I would recommend AmeriCorps to people living with their parents.
    - If you do not enjoy the work at your service site, the 45hrs/week for no pay becomes very difficult

  3. "College Coach"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at AmeriCorps as a contractor

    Pros

    Easy, Mentor Students, Flexible Hours

    Cons

    Poor Pay, Requirements for the program and the school didn't mesh


  4. "AmeriCorps VISTA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at AmeriCorps full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Someone who loves public service will enjoy being able to help others

    Cons

    terrible pay, time consuming, financially draining and usually no opportunity for growth


  5. "VISTA - Project Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AmeriCorps full-time

    Pros

    Great opportunity to learn new skills

    Cons

    Only made 11,000 a year and was not allowed to have a 2nd job

    Advice to Management

    Allow VISTA's to work 2nd jobs


  6. "AmeriCorps VISTA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - AmeriCorps VISTA in Roanoke, VA
    Current Employee - AmeriCorps VISTA in Roanoke, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AmeriCorps full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good experience
    Meaningful work
    Education stipend upon completion of term of service

    Cons

    Bad pay
    Work differs by assignment
    Could be doing a lot of work or very little depending on assignment


  7. "Not the best"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AmeriCorps full-time

    Pros

    You have the option to help others, you have the option to work within a diverse workforce.

    Cons

    The wages are not livable! Was treated poorly by the supervisor, was screwed on hours suddenly not qualifying. Disorganized program!!

    Advice to Management

    Get organized, listen to staff, don't overwork the staff-I was doing 65 hours a week and than told half of what I did didn't matter anymore even though it was preapproved. No one was on the same pages.

  8. "Great experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Recommends

    I worked at AmeriCorps as a contractor

    Pros

    Health care stipend, help with student loans, professional development

    Cons

    Low pay, hard work with sometimes poor management, a lot of restrictions because of the government


  9. Helpful (2)

    "AmeriCorps VISTA Year"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Volunteer Outeach Coordinator in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Volunteer Outeach Coordinator in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AmeriCorps full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    AmeriCorps is a great choice for recent graduates. I joined AmeriCorps right out of my undergraduate degree, and having my cohort of AmeriCorps VISTAs and people outside of the nonprofit I served who could provide professional support and guidance was a wonderful learning experience. It may be an especially great choice for young professionals who have not yet worked full time as it eases you into the workforce and gives your resume a great boost for jobs in future years. I also feel I became more workplace politics ~savvy~ and learned how to work with some quirky folks - not uncommon in this sector.

    My (successful!) career trajectory:
    -completed 1 year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a Boston nonprofit
    -landed a full-time, salaried job at a Boston nonprofit; left after a year
    -landed a job in the for-profit sector with a major salary increase.
    *BONUS - I used my AmeriCorps money to pay off some of my student loans (you're awarded $5K at the completion of the year), which helped substantially when I moved for my for-profit job.

    These incremental career steps were directly enabled by the VISTA program. However, my experiences in the nonprofit sector also compelled me to leave it.

    Cons

    Each VISTA is placed at a different nonprofit, and it's safe to say that the overall experience of my cohort ranged from soul-crushing to empowering. Several individuals are still working with the organizations they served for, now full time; others were placed in nonprofits that either overworked them or nearly didn't need them and ended up with an uncomfortable amount of down time during the year. AmeriCorps doesn't intervene between you and the nonprofit unless you really ask them to, and there's only so much you can do to change the situation you've been placed in. (I've heard similar complaints with TFA.) My nonprofit had experienced major turnover, and throughout the year I witnessed an uncomfortable rift between the Executive Director and the board. This exact same situation happened in my full-time position I took following my service year, and this repeated issues with turnover, drama, and overworked but well-intentioned employees ultimately compelled me to leave the sector.

    There's a larger issue with the VISTA service year structure, being that by the end it has the uncomfortable feeling of voluntourism. You come into a community; you try to make it better; you pat yourself on the back; you leave. We could debate this all day, and yes, some of these nonprofits would struggle to operate without VISTAs, but by the end of the program, I felt like I was better served than the community was. If you're 100% invested in a nonprofit career track, you might find this year illuminating in terms of how you *don't* want service to look - or, like me, you might be deterred by the issues, and leave.

    Advice to Management

    Do a better job of vetting and monitoring your partner nonprofits. There was an uncomfortably wide range of VISTA experiences that resulted from internal drama or lack of planning at their respective organizations.


  10. "Americorps Massachusetts Campus Compact VISTA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at AmeriCorps full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - personal/professional development
    -great networking opportunity
    -work with a cohort of like minded people

    Cons

    -poor leadership
    -disorganized
    -pay is low


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