ACOG Recruits for Americorps VISTA
Rural Creative Placemaking Focus of VISTA
The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments was recently awarded an Americorps VISTA volunteer via the U.S. Economic Development Administration in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service. ACOG was eligible to compete for the award based on its 2013 federal designation as an Economic Development District.
In June, the Austin Regional Office (AURO) of the U.S. Economic Development Administration announced they would expand the number of Americorps VISTAS from 10 to 15. ACOG submitted an initial letter of interest and was one of the five Economic Development Districts in a seven-state region awarded one of the five VISTAS.
Recruitment for ACOG’s VISTA kicked off in mid-August with an opportunity listing on the Americorps VISTA website.
About the Project
ACOG’s AmeriCorps VISTA will identify a specific rural community in Central Oklahoma with a population under 7,000 that holds significant, documented and verifiable potential for application of principles of creative placemaking as a means of addressing economic distress, attracting new business and industry, and improving shared quality of life. Over the course of the service, the VISTA will:
- Conduct ground exploration
- Traditional research
- Data collectiom
- Identify the best opportunities for creative placemaking success in Central Oklahoma.
The VISTA will have the opportunity to help coordinate and formulate formal creative placemaking and the critical storytelling that accompanies it in at least one rural community in Central Oklahoma. Their service will potentially be part of a game-changing initiative that will:
- Improve the economy of the town(s)
- Enhance community pride
- Alleviate poverty
- Reduce unemployment
- Provide meaningful opportunities for the creative class
- Invite greater business investment in the region and community
The VISTA will work directly with ACOG staff, including public relations, community development, economic development & transportation planning as well as local, state and federal and nonprofit partners, both rural and urban, to conduct qualitative and quantitative research in an effort to identify the best candidate(s) for rural, and if time allows, suburban placemaking in the Central Oklahoma region. The VISTA’s research will involve:
- Writing plans and reports
- Conducting analyses
- Making presentations
- Implementing robust storytelling
- Informing critical decision-making about the local economic development needs and creative placemaking opportunities.
The economic development capacity built by the VISTA will provide the communities with the tools to build job opportunities for community members and improve shared quality of life.
Again, the project is sponsored by the Austin Regional Office (AURO) of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), and will be directly supervised by the Central Oklahoma Economic Development District, which is managed by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments in Oklahoma City.
The overall EDA Mission is “to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.”
The ideal candidate will hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration, Journalism, Public Relations, Marketing, Business, Planning, or another related discipline. Possession of a car and driver’s license is recommended.
- Team Work
- Community Organization
- Social Services
- Non-Profit Management
- General Skills
- Knowledge of Arts and Culture
- Grant Writing
- Public Speaking
Program Benefits and Terms
- Relocation Allowance
- Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend
- Health Coverage* (*For details about AmeriCorps VISTA healthcare benefits, please visit http://www.vistacampus.gov/healthcare)
- Permits working at another job during off hours
- Permits attendance at school during off hours
To apply to this VISTA opportunity, review and register for the opportunity here. Resumes may also be submitted directly to ACOG. Depending on your device, see below or to the right for contact information.
Creative Placemaking in Rural Oklahoma
What is Creative Placemaking?
ACOG’s VISTA volunteer will help create a formal creative placemaking plan for at least on Central Oklahoma community with a population under 7,000.
Creative Placemaking is an evolving field of practice that intentionally leverages the power of arts, culture and creativity to serve a community’s interest while driving a broader agenda for change, growth and transformation in a way that also builds character and quality of place. It involves:
- Enhancing Public Spaces
- Improving community well-being, prosperity and business investments
- Fostering conditions for towns and cities to define, draw attention to and distinguish themselves on a local, state, national and international scale.
Writing the Plan
The VISTA volunteer will identify and write all elements of the plan including, but not limited to:
- SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely) Goals and Objectives
- Tactics and Strategies
- Lead Organizations, Lead Funding, Lead Partners
- Creative Team, Core Team, Placemakers
- Mission and Vision
- Projected Costs/Budget
- Potential Investors, Grantors
- Human and Financial Resource Needs
- Governance and Management
- Code Enforcement Issues
- Creative Brand Elements
- Planning, Engagement and Capacity-Building Activities
- Site and Concept Development
- Policy Exploration
- Economic Impact
- Regional Awareness
- Projects; Commissions
- Coordinate and collaborate with ACOG staff to publish the formal Creative Placemaking Plan for implementation, distribution and replication
- Identify resources for implementation of the Creative Placemaking Plan and related economic development goals and objectives.
- Explore and identify all potential local, state and federal funding partners; private sector funding partners or investors, and nonprofit and foundation funding sources including applicable grant requirements and deadlines
- Identify priority grants and coordinate application(s) in an effort to establish start-up funding for plans, projects, etc.
- Utilize storytelling to help rebuild the assets of Central Oklahoma’s rural communities as powerful assets to strengthen the economic base.
- Illuminate the historic, cultural and literary riches of these places as a way to shape their future.
- Identify the best stories from on-the-ground exploration and research including the relevant culture-bearers and those who hold the community’s collective story.
- Tell the stories through traditional news releases, posts and editorials.
- Engage others to tell the stories
Eligible Towns and Hamlets in Central Oklahoma
- Cedar Valley
- Cimarron City
- Forest Park
- Lake Aluma
- Nichols Hills
- Nicoma Park
- Smith Village
- Union City
- Valley Brook
- Woodlawn Park
As part of ACOG’s ongoing economic development efforts, we’re creating a section on our website to host the latest and/or best creative placemaking links and resources. The page, acogok.org/creative-placemaking, will be ready no later than August 30.