Where We Serve
American Connection Corps Members currently serve in over 74 different communities across 27 states. Over the next several years, we aim to expand our footprint of locally-rooted service in rural and emerging communities to all 50 states.
View our 2023 Service Locations to date:
What is an emerging community?
With our national headquarters proudly rooted in Wichita, Kansas, we see firsthand how it looks and what it means for a place to emerge from periods of disinvestment and economic stagnancy to chart a future as a vibrant, robust community that invests in the next generation of talent.
Perhaps a major employer or industry has left, a natural disaster has hit, or there have been several decades of young people moving away. We serve the communities ready to write a comeback story.
While we know census numbers don’t always tell the full story, emerging communities tend to have populations of 500,000 people or fewer, and the comeback always begins with a group of committed people who believe in their place and who fight for an upswing.
How do you define rural?
Technically, the federal government only considers a community “rural” if the county in which it is located has a USDA Beale code rating of 4-9. But in reality, we know that these formal definitions do not always accurately reflect the situation at hand - many of the communities we serve still lack basic internet and other up-to-date utilities or infrastructure required to grow and thrive.
American Connection Corps members are placed in rural or semi-rural communities and serve with backbone organizations that are in a position to best support an area’s growth and development. These include local county and city governments, regional planning commissions that serve predominantly rural areas, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, and other community-based organizations. ACC Members serve a wide range of towns and cities that can range from three-digit populations to more than 60,000. In some cases, Members serve with organizations or state agencies that are headquartered in a regional metropolitan area or state capitol, but which serve a broader region of rural communities.
What does locally-rooted mean?
We prioritize selecting Members who are connected to the place they are serving. Perhaps they already live there, and are looking for an opportunity to step into a leadership role and get connected to a national network of peers doing the same. Others are homecomers - people born and raised in the community who choose to return from elsewhere. Some are recent retirees that have returned to their hometowns, or who have chosen to make a place their home for their next chapter in life. Others may have gone to college there, and may want to explore the region beyond the four walls of a university. And some might be "rural-curious," eager to mend geographic divides and hungry to learn deeply about a place and make it their home.
Locally-rooted means being attentive to the particularity of the place one is serving, holding no national agendas or preconceived perceptions of what that place needs. American Connection Corps Members put ideology and prejudice aside, listen deeply, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.