The Benefits Hub team is a dynamic cohort of 20 direct service AmeriCorps members working in collaboration with AmeriCorps VISTAs, community based organizations, and campus faculty and staff. As part of this cohort, you will be supported and provided with guidance, tools, and resources in order to succeed. As a Benefits Hub AmeriCorps member, you will become a resource navigation expert and take a client-centered approach. Two to three coaches are deployed to each campus; 1 will specialize in housing navigation, 1 will specialize in financial coaching, and 1 will specialize in poverty alleviation strategies through tax preparation and financial aid navigation:
• Housing Navigation Specialist: This role focuses on helping students who are at risk of becoming or are currently experiencing homelessness navigate tools and resources to stay housed. You’ll learn how to navigate the intricacies of the Seattle and King County housing systems and become an expert in innovative, student-centered homelessness prevention strategies developed by United Way of King County.
• Financial Coaching Specialist: This role focuses on increasing students’ financial stability by supporting students in accessing emergency financial grants, working to build personalized spending & savings plans, and finding creative, individualized solutions to help students pay for school.
• Financial Aid and Tax Preparation Specialist: This role focuses on the important connection between financial aid and tax preparation. Community college students have the highest Pell Grant eligibility rates but access federal financial aid at the lowest rates- you will work to become an expert in FAFSA and WASFA to reverse this cycle. In addition, you will have the opportunity to become a tax expert by serving as a site manager for United Way of King County’s Free Tax Preparation Campaign, supporting students in accessing important education credits and filing their tax returns so that they are eligible for financial aid.
While all members are cross-trained on all interventions, taking on a specialty role in one of the above categories allows you to grow your leadership skills and engage with this work in a unique way. When applying, please indicate your interest.
We are seeking to hire Benefits Hub Coaches at the following campuses:
• Green River College
• Bellevue College
• Highline College
o South Seattle College
o North Seattle College
o Shoreline College
• University of Washington, Bothell/ Cascadia College
• Provide one-on-one assistance to connect students to the benefits and resources they are eligible for
• Participate in ongoing trainings, apply learnings, and implement racial equity strategies to reduce racial disparities in homelessness and poverty for community and technical college students
• Diligently track data to demonstrate service outputs and outcomes
• Become a coach to support students by taking a strengths-based, student-centered, culturally relevant approach
• Be an advocate for students on campus to problem solve complex problems to find creative solutions
• Facilitate financial literacy workshops about money basics and financial aid options
• Be a champion of the United Way Free Tax Campaign and become a certified volunteer tax preparer
Community Need Addressed
Everyone deserves fair and equal access to an education. Help students at some of the most diverse colleges in Washington State get by, get ahead, and stay ahead while pursuing their education! With much of the national dialogue around college focused on access and affordability, United Way Benefits Hub focuses on moving the needle on the alarmingly low persistence and completion rates for low-income students, students of color, and working parents. Students of color, immigrants, and women are disproportionately impacted due to systems in place that were originally built for white, cis, heterosexual men. Benefits Hub prioritizes using a student-centric approach to provide culturally relevant tools and resources for students while seeking to undo unjust systems and interrupting racism, oppression, and injustice.
Education leading to higher incomes is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty, yet living in poverty makes it that much harder for students to stay in school. Seattle has one of the highest concentration of college students living below the poverty line when compared to cities of similar size—this impacts graduation rates and significantly lowers the number of people who go on to increase earnings and build wealth. Tents are popping up near campus and students struggle to focus in class— according to the 2019 #RealCollege basic needs survey issued by the Hope Center, 17% of students are homeless and 45% do not know where their next meal will come from. Students from high-income families who enter college are now six times more likely than students from low-income families to graduate, and people of color are disproportionately impacted. United Way Benefits Hub targets our efforts towards connecting students of color, parenting students, and first generation college students with everyday financial tools in order to take steps toward undoing these systemic inequities.
Benefits Hub is a one-stop coordinated, access point for financial resources that connects people seeking a college degree or credential to critical income supports to help them persist and complete school. In the 2019-2020 school year, Benefits Hub will provide interventions to 10,000 low-income students, majority of whom are people of color, working parents, and first generation students. We will also help 1,500 students improve financial knowledge. As part of a larger AmeriCorps network, this team will accelerate the impact of United Way’s work to lift 50,000 people out of poverty and reduce the unsheltered population by 50%.
Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training
• Monthly stipend of up to $2,000 per month before deductions and withholdings
• Loan deferment on qualified student loans during your service
• Payment of interest on qualified student loans that are accrued during service term
• Eligible for a $5,800 Education Award upon successful completion of service
• Health benefits that meet minimum standards of ACA compliance
• 8 days of sick leave, 8 days of personal leave
• Childcare assistance
• Public transportation pass (ORCA)
• Opportunity to be a part of an innovative, high-impact program
• Working across teams of various community organizations
• Gain valuable personal and professional development experience
• Becoming a member of a large network of current AmeriCorps members and alums
GED/High School Diploma
Skills you will gain
• We believe that the communities we serve must be centered in the work we do, therefore people of color, first generation college students, and community college graduates are highly encouraged to apply
• Second language skill is highly desirable so that we can offer Benefits Hub services to students in their preferred or native languages
• Willingness to learn & implement new skills and complex ideas
• Ability to quickly understand and navigate complex systems and processes
• Flexibility! Doing what it takes to get things done in a fast-paced environment
• Enthusiastic team player and critical thinker
• Comprehensive understanding of systemic causes of poverty and racial inequities
• Passionate social justice advocate, driven to end poverty in our region
• Cultural humility and experience working with diverse populations
Competencies You Will Develop
Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Lead group discussion, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Derive consensus, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented
Accepts responsibility, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Create environment of contribution, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Drive decision making, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Evaluate customer or client satisfaction, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Recognize the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality of those being served, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment