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In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our schools and our students, the North Carolina State Board of Education, the governor’s office, American Ripples, and local public school districts joined together to create the North Carolina Education Corps, a project to provide support to school districts while creating jobs for North Carolinians.

“In tough times, North Carolinians pull together to help each other out and this pandemic is no different,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release announcing the partnership in November. “The North Carolina Education Corps gives people a wonderful opportunity to help in local public schools at a time when students and educators really need it.”

“The purpose of the North Carolina Education Corps is to provide the support that students need,” State Board Chair Eric Davis said in a launch video that you can watch here.

The inaugural cohort of the NC Education Corps started on Jan. 4. The initiative is now recruiting for a second cohort to start in April 2021. Find the application here.

Courtesy of NC Education Corps

If selected, corps members are matched with participating school districts in a variety of roles, including tutors, mentors, counselor’s aides, volunteer coordinators, contact tracers, and digital navigators. Corps members commit up to five months and are paid at least $13.50 an hour by the school systems, which can use funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, according to the press release. John-Paul Smith, founder and CEO of American Ripples, is the program director.

Corps members are expected to work anywhere from 10-15 hours a week to 20-30 hours per week, although this varies based on school needs. Each job has different responsibilities and requirements. For example, tutors and mentors may be asked to work in person while contact tracers can be entirely virtual. See detailed job descriptions, responsibilities, and qualifications here.

The application for the second cohort is now open. Applications are due Feb. 20 and are being reviewed on a rolling basis. Available positions include positions in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Halifax County Schools, Wake County Public Schools, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

While the effort started initially as a response to COVID-19, Davis said in the video, “It’s going to grow way beyond that to become an enduring part of the legacy of quality education that we’re providing to every student so that they’re prepared to learn.”

The idea of enlisting tutors to help counter the impact of the pandemic on students is not unique to North Carolina. This past summer, the Bill and Crissy Haslam Foundation launched the Tennessee Tutoring Corps, which paid college students a $1,000 stipend to tutor students in math and English over the summer.

National organizations and education leaders, including former U.S. education secretaries, are pushing for a national volunteer tutoring force, as the 74 Million reports. The idea has gained traction as research shows tutoring can be highly effective. A recent review of 96 randomized experiments showed large gains as a result of tutoring programs.

For more information or to apply for the North Carolina Education Corps, visit their website.

Molly Osborne

Molly Osborne is the director of news and policy for EducationNC.