Governor Terry Branstad today announced the creation of a new Council on National Service in Iowa. The state-level effort will complement the Franklin Project, an initiative which aims to spur volunteerism nationwide. “The council will come up with innovative ways to leverage the skills of citizens and, in doing so, make community service a priority,” Branstad said.
The council is expected to make recommendations on how to expand opportunities to participate in national service programs, like AmeriCorps.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds noted that Iowa is ranked in the top 5 among the 50 states for volunteerism, according to the Corporation for Community Service. “Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to engage Iowa’s spirit of service to improve lives and communities while helping individuals develop skills that will enable them to prepare for longterm careers and build a pipeline to employment,” Reynolds said.
Robert King, head of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, said his agency will partner with the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, other state agencies, local governments, colleges and universities, and private businesses to make recommendations on how to expand national service for Iowans. “This is all about invigorating a sense of responsibility and contribution. It’s about connecting with our communities and our nation, and it’s about coming together in service for others,” King said.
The Council on National Service in Iowa is expected to provide preliminary recommendations to the governor this summer and a final report by February 1, 2015.