Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Department and Program

What is the Department of Service and Civic Innovation?
Governor Wes Moore prioritized service as a hallmark of his administration by creating the Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation early in his first term as Governor. The Department was charged with creating two new streams of service, Service Year Option and Maryland Corps as well as expanding a legacy service program, AmeriCorps. The Department plays a leading role in promoting volunteerism across the state as well as signature Days of Service, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and the commemoration of September 11th.


Where can I learn more about the Department of Service and Civic Innovation? 
To learn more about the Department of Service and Civic Innovation, visit our website: ​serve.maryla​nd.gov. You can also follow us on Instagram, ​X, and Facebook​  at @marylandserves and Linkedin at @Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation.

What are the major differences between Service Year Option and Maryland Corps?
Service Year Option is a program for individuals who have graduated from a Maryland high school, or earned  or earned an equivalent diploma or certificate within the past three years (Classes of 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024). The Service Year Option also has a Maryland residency requirement for all of its Members.

Maryland Corps is open to all eligible adults 18 and older and does not require a high school diploma or the equivalent. Additionally, Maryland Corps does not have a Maryland residency requirement. 

How are Service Year Option and Maryland Corps similar? 
Participants in both programs are paid at least $15.00 per hour/$600 weekly plus benefits. Members are also eligible for a $6,000 program completion award payable as cash or through a Maryland 529 account after at least nine (9) months of service.

What is the time commitment for Members?
Maryland Corps/Service Year Option are full-time (40 hours/week) commitments over a period of at least nine (9) months. In addition to at least 30 hours/week of work hours with their Host Site Partners, members must complete and be compensated for in-person and virtual professional development activities as required by DSCI and their Host Site Partners. 

What roles are available?
We are working on identifying potential Host Site Partners and roles. We will share updates on our Host Site Partners on our website, so please continue to check serve.maryland.gov for updates.

If I am accepted, when would I start?
Members are slated to begin service on September 11, 2024.

If I am accepted and complete the program, how is the completion award issued?
The completion award can be deposited into a Maryland 529 (college savings) account to be used for higher education expenses or awarded as a taxable cash stipend.

Is a high school diploma required?
No, a high school diploma is not required.  An applicant must have a Maryland high school diploma, GED, or certificate of completion to participate in the Service Year Option. High school completion is not required for Maryland Corps.

How many hours are Maryland Corps/Service Year Option Members expected to invest within the course of the year?
Members are engaged with the program full-time for 40 hours per week, for at least 41 weeks starting September 11th. Members will serve until at least to June 17, 2025, and no later than August 1, 2025.`

Can people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities apply to Maryland Corps/Service Year Option? 
Yes, individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities are encouraged to apply.


Questions about the Application Process

I’ve completed my application. What are my next steps?
Thank you for submitting your application. You should expect to receive guidance on next steps via email very soon. Be sure to check your email often! 

How can I check the progress of my application?
Our team continues to receive significant interest in this program and will strive to respond with next steps very soon. We will provide updates by email. If you have questions about your application, please contact applytoserve@maryland.gov.

When are Member applications due?
We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. Please submit your application by the early deadline of May 15, 2024 to be considered for the 2024-2025 service term.

When are Host Partner applications due?
We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. Please submit your application by the deadline of May 1, 2024 to be considered for the 2024-2025 service term.


Translation

English is not my first language. Can I have the application translated?
Yes. The application site is compatible with the Linguist extension (FirefoxGoogle Chrome) and Google Translate (FirefoxGoogle Chrome) for the best translation experience on Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.

Host Site Partner Questions

I am an employer. How do I express my interest in being a Host Site Partner?
We are grateful that you are interested in hosting Service Members at your organization. Please complete our Application and we will be in touch very soon with next steps. The Application to become a Host Site Partner is also an application to receive grant funds for the programs. 

Our Application can be found here: serve.maryland.gov

What address should I use if my company has multiple addresses?
Please enter the physical address of your Maryland headquarters.

What are the commitments if I want to be a Host Site Partner?
  • Host a minimum of two (2) participants at each location
  • The strongest partners will be those who provide meaningful work experiences including on-site supervision and professional development, job training, and on-site mentoring
  • All partners must provide fringe benefits for all members and may also need to support access to or the provision of certain wrap-around services (examples include childcare, transportation, financial literacy, and job search/college application support) as needed by individual participants
  • Large employers are responsible for a one time program fee per member of $12,500. If your organization hosts more than 3 members, the contribution per member is reduced to $10,000 per member. 
  • Provide a Supervisor and Mentor (they can be the same person) to work with the candidates placed at your program
  • Commit to using an online training platform to manage and assign your members work  
I’ve submitted my interest form to be a Host Site Partner. What’s next?
We are grateful that you are interested in hosting Service Members at your organization. Please complete our Application and we will be in touch very soon with next steps.

Our Application can be found here: serve.maryland.gov


Will Host Site Partners be involved with selection/match for their organization?
Yes. Host Site Partners will have the opportunity to review and interview potential members as part of the matching process.

Is there a preferred experience for Maryland Corps and Service Year Option members?  Any specific careers you are particularly looking for? 
We aim to prepare and train members for meaningful jobs for the future. We are open to what career paths they may be interested in and that align with the state’s workforce needs. 

What is the financial cost to the organization to host a Maryland Corps/Service Year Option Member?
All organizations will need to provide necessary equipment (e.g. computer, cell phone etc. as needed), fringe benefits (such as health insurance), supervision, mentorship, in addition to in-kind support similar to what they provide to their employees. In addition, large organizations (those with more than 50 employees) must also pay a fee of $12,500 per member. If a large organization hosts more than 3 members, the fee is reduced per member to $10,000 per member. 

Members are considered employees of the host site partner, and must be hired as W-2 employees. If you do not currently pay anyone at your organization as a W-2 employee, you must go through the process to do so in advance of a member being placed with your organization. 

Who delivers professional development?
Professional Development is a shared responsibility between DSCI, Host Site Partners and the Department’s online platform partner BuildWithin. All provide important elements for the Member experience.  

What sort of professional development will be offered?
Professional development will be tailored to participant needs, but will include: financial literacy (i.e. personal money management) training, resume writing, interviewing skills, career exploration, workplace readiness, problem solving, community building, civic knowledge, among other relevant skills. In addition, host site partner organizations are required to provide on-the-job training needed for specific roles and related professional development to members serving at their organization as well. 

When is the deadline to complete the Host Site Partner Application? 
May 1, 2024 is the deadline. 

Are host organizations limited to one Service Member?
No, in fact preference will be given to host sites that  agree to host a minimum of two to three Maryland Corps/Service Year Option members. 

Questions about Verification

What makes me eligible for the Service Year Option?
For the Service Year Option program, you must be a resident of Maryland for the preceding 12 months. You also must have graduated from a Maryland high school or earned an equivalency diploma or certificate within the past three years (Class of 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024).  

Do I have to be a Maryland resident to participate?
For the Service Year Option program, you must be a Maryland resident to participate. 

What would I need to do to verify that I am a Maryland resident?
Verification of Maryland residency includes, a valid Maryland driver's license, a lease, utility bill, checking or savings account with Maryland address, or mail sent to MD address from a government agency. If you have questions about verification, please email applytoserve@maryland.gov.  

Do I need to be a citizen? 
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to participate in either Maryland Corps or Service Year Option, but you must be eligible to work in the United States for the entire duration of the program.

I am waiting for my Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”). Can I still participate?
You will need to complete employment verification documents so you should receive your Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”) and possess the right to work before you apply for the Service Year Option and Maryland Corps programs. You must possess the right to work for the entire duration of the program. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to participate in either Maryland Corps or Service Year Option.

Media Inquiries

For general media inquiries, contact dsci.media@maryland.gov.


Other

I need support. Is there someone I can speak to?
Due to the high volume of requests, we kindly ask that you send us an email to applytoserve@maryland.gov (Member applicants) or dsci.gov@maryland.gov (Host Site Partner applicants). If you would still like to speak to someone, please note in your email that you would like someone to call you.

How can I get involved?
To stay involved and learn about DSCI activities, please complete our Interest F​orm and check out serve.maryland.gov. ​