What We Do
We believe in a connected nation, where every community is part of the great American story.
America’s founding documents are the bedrock of the great American story and of the belief that every person and every place matters. They are a story of possibility – of working hard today to build a better life for future generations.
Too many of our communities today have been left out of that great story. A 2019 McKinsey Global Institute study estimated that over the next 10 years, 60% of U.S. job growth will originate from just 25 cities. Persistently high-poverty counties are disproportionately rural. And in 2020, the U.S. Joint Economic Committee found that highly educated adults flowing to major metropolitan areas are, to a significant extent, leaving behind more rural and post-industrial states. This geographic sorting of our nation’s talent is a key factor driving economic stagnation and declining social capital in major areas of our country.
As the report states, “If we are connecting less with communities and people who are different than us, we could be more likely to see adversaries among those in whom we might otherwise find a neighbor.”
We at ACC see a comeback story
just waiting to happen.
The American Connection Corps is the nation’s premier AmeriCorps service experience, advancing economic prosperity in rural and emerging communities. We lead shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors to realize the worth of every place, person, and possibility.
In 2021, Lead For America launched a partnership with Land O’Lakes, Microsoft, Heartland Forward and 15 other corporate partners to tackle a key cornerstone of shared economic prosperity in the 21st century: bridging the digital divide. Emerging from Lead For America’s inaugural Hometown Fellows program, 50 leaders across 14 states took part in a two-year pilot to help expand broadband infrastructure, grow digital skills and tech employment, and increase access and affordability of internet services and devices. A year into the pilot, the success of our Members inspired Lead For America to establish the American Connection Corps as a standalone program. And in Spring 2023, Lead For America decided to make the American Connection Corps its signature AmeriCorps program, integrating the best elements of local service, premier training, and community-building from the Hometown Fellows model into the newly expanded American Connection Corps.
About the American Connection Corps
American Connection Corps Members advance economic prosperity in rural and emerging communities nationwide. Members are placed with a local public institution, where they build critical capacity, attract resources, and activate community engagement across the following key areas:
Health and Social Capital
Agriculture and Natural Resources
In 2021, Congress invested $65B of infrastructure funding toward broadband development and digital inclusion to connect every part of the country to high-speed, reliable, and affordable internet. Unfortunately, too many of our rural and emerging communities have been left behind -- and our workforce, healthcare access, and agricultural economies suffer as a result.
As such, bridging the digital divide was selected as a core tenet of the American Connection Corps and is an issue that unites all ACC Members as they serve in these focus areas. Through yearlong training and support, Members are equipped with the tools to understand how they can channel these resources locally, while also building capacity across a diverse set of host institutions and issue areas to ensure that the opportunities facilitated by broadband access are fully realized.