Peace Corps

Host Site/Community Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

How does the Peace Corps/AmeriCorps Fellows Program work?

As a unit of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, the Peace Corps/AmeriCorps Fellows Program recruits Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and AmeriCorps (AC) Alum into graduate studies at Western Illinois University. Fellows are then placed in rural communities, to lead development projects and build local capacity, in conjunction with their studies. The program is a 2-year graduate fellowship program for RPCVs and AC Alum with an emphasis on providing technical assistance to rural communities. Fellows apply their unique skills and global perspective during an 11 month graduate internship in rural Illinois. Small towns and local, county, or regional agencies are eligible to apply to host a Fellow. The selection process is competitive and matches the host site’s goals with the skills and professional interests of the Fellow. PC/AC Fellows program staff monitor progress and provide technical assistance during the internship.

How will the Fellow benefit my community?

Simply put, a Fellow will help your community implement its community development goals! Fellows often serve as the local coordinator of community and economic development projects; they mobilize people and resources while building local capacity. It is remarkable what a skilled, dedicated coordinator can help your community accomplish in 11 months. As a result of having hosted a Fellow, many communities go on to create a professional position in community and economic development to sustain the progress accomplished during the internship.

How will the Fellow Benefit my Regional or State organization?

Many Fellows have specialized skills and interests, such as health education and outreach, GIS, environmental planning, nature-based or heritage tourism, agriculture, etc. A Fellow may fit a critical need in your organization for a modest cost. Peace Corps/AmeriCorps Fellows allow organizations to leverage limited resources in such a way as to enhance outreach, service, and outcomes.

What kinds of projects do Fellows participate in?

Fellows lead community development efforts such as downtown revitalization, business retention and expansion, entrepreneurship development, tourism development, health education and outreach, volunteer management, disaster preparedness, implementation of community action plans, land use planning, TIF district management, GIS implementation, public relations and marketing, and partnership development.

When does the internship begin and end?

The internship lasts eleven months and begins either September 1, or in early January of each year.

What is the deadline to apply to host a Fellow?

Applications are accepted on an on-going basis; however, for priority consideration for September placements, applications should be submitted by January 31 and by September 30, for January placements. Please contact us directly to discuss your anticipated time-line.

How much does it cost?

A sponsorship fee of $25,000 covers a monthly stipend and training expenses during the Fellow’s internship. The fee can be paid in installments throughout the internship and are often split over two fiscal years. The host also provides mileage reimbursement for project-related travel and a fully-functioning office space for the Fellow. The Fellow does not become an employee of the host site and no employer-related or fringe benefits costs are required.

What kind of experience do Fellows have?

Fellows have a minimum of two years of international service experience with the Peace Corps and/or experience with national service through AmeriCorps State/National or VISTA. Many Fellows have significant life and professional experiences beyond their international and/or national service. In addition to their graduate coursework, Fellows participate in specialized training in community and economic development and complete graduate assistantships during the first year in our program to prepare them for the community-based internships in the second year of our program.

Fellows are completing master’s degrees in the following fields: Business Administration (MBA), Economics, Political Science (Public Administration), Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration, GIS and GeoEnvironment,·Sociology, Health Sciences, and Liberal Arts & Sciences.

How is the placement decision made?

Peace Corps/AmeriCorps Fellows program staff review host site applications and work with prospective sites to determine their development priorities and possible projects for the Fellow. A critical aspect of the program is the match/fit between the Fellow and the host site; therefore, when considering possible placements, program staff will coordinate a meeting between the prospective host site and eligible Fellows. We will visit your community to meet with local leaders to discuss possible projects and to allow both the Fellow and the community/host organization an opportunity to assess the suitability of the prospective match. Based on observations and feedback, program staff will make final placement decisions.

How many hours per week will the Fellow work?

Fellows are required to work a minimum of 37.5 hours per week and are aware that night meetings and/or weekend and special events are sometimes necessary. The Fellow and supervisor should arrange for some time to be set aside each week for academic and reporting responsibilities.

Will the Fellow live in the host community?

Yes, Fellows usually live in the host community. They are responsible for covering their housing costs, but we ask community leaders to help them identify reasonably priced, safe housing.

Contact Info

Phone: (309) 298-2268