Peace Corp Fellows Program in Community Development Western Illinois University
  1. How does the Peace Corps Fellows Program work?
  2. How will the Peace Corps Fellow benefit my community?
  3. But I represent a regional or state organization. How will a Peace Corps Fellow benefit my organization?
  4. What are some examples of what Peace Corps Fellows have accomplished during their internships?
  5. How long is the internship?
  6. When is the deadline to request a Fellow?
  7. How much does it cost?
  8. What type of experience do Peace Corps Fellows have?
  9. How is the placement decision made?
  10. How many hours per week will the Fellow work?
  11. Will the Peace Corps Fellow live in the host community?

How does Peace Corps Fellows program work?

Peace Corps Fellows, who are graduate students at Western Illinois University, first complete their coursework in a master’s degree program. Then they serve an 11-month internship accomplishing community and economic development projects in rural Illinois.

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How does Peace Corps Fellow benefit my community?

Simply put, a Peace Corps Fellow will help your community get projects accomplished! Peace Corps Fellows often act as local coordinator of community and economic development. It is remarkable what a skilled, professional coordinator can help your community accomplish in 11 months. Furthermore, a Peace Corps Fellow may build support for a full-time professional position in community and economic development. Nearly half of the communities served by Fellows have hired full-time community and economic development professionals at the conclusion of the internship. (Examples include Rock Falls, Havana, Cass County, Clark County, Pike County).

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But I represent a regional or state organization. How will a Peace Corps Fellow benefit my organization?

Many Fellows have specialized skills and interests, such as health education and outreach, GIS, environmental planning, nature-based tourism, agriculture, etc. A Peace Corps Fellow may be able to fit a critical need in your organization for a modest cost.

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What are some examples of what Peace Corps Fellows have accomplished during their internships?

  • Completed a comprehensive plan for the community which outlined land-use strategies for revitalizing the town.
  • Consulted with small businesses and entrepreneurs to start and expand local enterprises.
  • Compiled marketing materials and website for business attraction.
  • Helped the community establish a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) development corporation.
  • Coordinated building code enforcement and designation of necessary demolitions for vacant substandard houses.
  • Worked on city beautification, strategic planning, and fund raising.
  • Organized community recreation activities while leading an effort to create recreational opportunities along the Mississippi, Ohio and Cache rivers.
  • Developed a strong social infrastructure and volunteer framework to help address community needs.
  • Coordinated fundraising and garnered gifts and pledges of over $40,000 in first two months of the internship for the school district.
  • Preliminary work of the Fellow helped to secure funds from the State of Illinois to enlarge highway.
  • Implemented a community needs assessment using stratified sampling techniques, which provided the statistical basis for establishing future community development and marketing programs.
  • Secured two grants totaling $15,000 to establish a formal main street economic development plan and fund a full time economic development professional for the community.
  • Organized downtown beautification, public relations, public information, and grant writing efforts.
  • Worked on planning and zoning issues for several communities in the county.
  • Organized public forums to address a variety of topics including improvement of the local school system and tax increment financing.
  • Updated and created community websites.
  • Helped to establish collaboration among several different community organizations.
  • Worked on several projects to promote volunteerism in the community.
  • Negotiated with a corporation for the donation of a building to use as a community health center.
  • Facilitated public hearings and served as a liaison between the community and a development engineer.
  • Helped to update the community’s sub division and zoning ordinances.
  • Established a conservation overlay district to reduce the impact of future development on a creek that flows through the community.
  • Made a video for the local TV channel on “Healthy Aging” and wrote articles for the newspaper to educate citizens about health issues.
  • Compiled and distributed a booklet of community resources for older adults in East Adams County.
  • Worked with a committee of health care professionals focusing on injury prevention for the older adult.
  • Worked on community capacity building and strengthening of the volunteer infrastructure.
  • Established a strong volunteer network of eighty people to work on downtown revitalization and recreation issues.
  • Served as an apolitical community leader to help educate the citizens on tough issues.
  • Assisted with community volunteer recruitment and organization.

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How long is the internship?

The internship lasts 11 months and usually begins in either January or June of each year.

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When is the deadline to request a Fellow?

Applications are accepted on an on-going basis from prospective sites. Download the application from here. [ Top ]

How much does it cost?

The sponsorship fee of $20,000 defrays salary and training expenses during the Fellow’s eleven-month internship. The host also provides mileage reimbursement and office space with telephone and e-mail access for the Fellow.

This may seem expensive, but please consider that this individual will earn two or three times this amount upon finishing the master’s degree.

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What type of experience do Peace Corps Fellows have?

All Fellows have a minimum of two years overseas experience with the Peace Corps. Many Fellows have significant life and professional experiences in addition to their Peace Corps service. Furthermore, Fellows have received extensive training in community development and their master’s field while on campus at WIU. Fellows are completing master’s degrees in the following fields: Business Administration (MBA), Economics , Political Science (Public Administration), Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration, Geography (Regional Planning), and· Community Health and Health Services Management.

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How is the placement decision made?

A critical aspect of the program is the match between the Peace Corps Fellow and the site. The Peace Corps Fellow will visit your community prior to placement so that both the Fellow and the community/organization can asses the suitability of the match.

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How many hours per week will the Fellow work?

Fellows are required to work a minimum of 35 hours per week and are aware that night meetings are often necessary. The Fellow and supervisor should arrange for one day each week to be set aside for academic responsibilities.

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Will the Peace Corps Fellow live in the host community?

Yes, Fellows usually live within the community.

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Peace Corps Fellows Program   ·  Western Illinois University   ·  1 University Circle - 503 Currens Hall   ·  Macomb, IL 61455
(800) 526-9943   ·  (309) 298-2268   ·  

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The PCF program is a unit of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.