Eastern Michigan University to drive post-secondary education and certified-training programs interest through Returning Citizens AmeriCorps Program

Program to support returning citizens interested in pursuing two or four-year degree programs and certifications

YPSILANTI – Washtenaw County has one of the state’s highest recidivism rates at 34% compared to 26% statewide. To help alter the recidivism rate, Eastern Michigan University received funding to launch its first Navigation: Returning Citizens AmeriCorps Program (NRCA). The new program is designed to support returning citizens interested in pursuing two or four-year degree programs and certifications. 

AmeriCorps logoTo provide such support, the NRCA is actively seeking 18-22 AmeriCorps members to serve as Navigation Coaches to formerly incarcerated individuals. The program is available to both those on parole and non-parole, pursuing postsecondary experiences including community college, four-year college, certified training programs, and professional certificates at both college and university sites.

“The NRCA has a long history of making impactful efforts to support our returning citizens,” said Crystal Lyte, NRCA program director at EMU. “Not only are we seeking Navigation Coaches to support our efforts at EMU, but we are also accepting returning citizens who can benefit from the support provided by our Navigation Coaches and partners.”

At the end of the first program year, the navigation coaches will provide one-on-one mentoring to formerly incarcerated participants who are currently enrolled in an educational program or seeking educational opportunities. Each coach will be assigned a caseload of 8-11 participants they meet with each week for up to 45 minutes until they reach their desired goals.

The NRCA AmeriCorps participants will work out of area sites, including EMU, Washtenaw Community College, MichiganWorks!, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Catholic Social Services/Michigan Department of Corrections, A Brighter Way and Washtenaw Literacy.

Navigation Coaches can use this opportunity as an internship for returning citizens, graduate students, and older adults wanting to support returning citizens. As a Quarter Time Member, participants must work 450 hours and receive a living allowance of $5,362 and an educational award of $1781.25. The Three-Quarter Member participants must work 1200 hours and receive a living allowance of $14,112 to cover their term and an education award of $4,456.50. Both tracks will run through Aug. 8, 2023.

Additionally, the recidivism rate should decline as the program progresses and more individuals have navigation services. “Being able to promote the benefits of the NRCA program, along with continued partnerships and participation from navigation coaches and returning citizens, will help us continue to see a lower rate of recidivism,” said Decky Alexander, professor and director of Engage @ EMU.

For more information about the NRCA program, visit the Returning Citizens AmeriCorp webpage. To inquire about becoming a Navigation Coach or to join the program as a returning citizen, email Lyte at cbrown20@emich.edu or call 734.487.6570.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

November 16, 2022

Written by:
Brittany Mobley

Media Contact:
Brittany Mobley