Launching AmeriCorps

Thomas Smith
June 1, 1995

Findings in this report are limited to the broad patterns discernible in the first-year implementation phase. Since, in fact, only a limited number of programs started up in our nine study states during the first year ( in most cases, toward the end of the year), we cannot address such pivotal questions as the kinds of programs, the communities they serve, and the individuals who participate; these issues will be examined more fully in a subsequent phase of this project.

The most basic and central finding is that accelerated and hectic pace of the first year, which resulted from the decision to make program start-up a paramount goal, dominated the overall proceedings. Since both the Corporation and the states were so caught up in first-year implementation, it is difficult to draw hard conclusions about which policies or procedures worked and which did not. Apparent success or failures could just as well reflect the highly compressed nature of the start-up phase as they could the intrinsic value or effectiveness of the policies and practices themselves.