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Community Connections


General Information

The Community Connections Program, a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers home stay-based, three-to-five week practical training opportunities in the U.S. for entrepreneurs, local government officials, legal professionals, non-governmental organization leaders and other professionals from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Kazakhstan.

Local community host organizations arrange internships for participants based on interests and experience. Companies offering internships range from small, family-run enterprises to major, multi-national "Fortune 500" corporations.

The goals of the Community Connections program are to:

  • provide participants with professional training and exposure to day-to-day functioning of a free market system;
  • encourage public-private partnerships in the NIS by including private sector and government participants;
  • create links between U.S. and NIS regions and communities.

Programs for English-speaking business participants must be designed as individual internship experiences. They may include seminars, consultancies and site visits.

Programs for professionals who do not speak English are less individualized, more group focused, and use a variety of training methodologies. All professional programs are implemented with the assistance of U.S.-based locally hired interpreters.

Funding for Community Connections is provided by the FREEDOM Support Act. Grants are awarded to community-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations and cover expenses such as participant airfare, modest per diem for participants during their U.S. stay, administrative expenses necessary for program operations, and local transportation during the program. Almost all of the funds awarded to local community organizations are spent in the local community.

Recruitment is carried out in the NIS countries by American organizations with representation in those countries. Recruitment is a merit-based open competition, and participants must successfully complete a three stage selection process: completion of an application, a review of the application by a committee of experts in the particular field of interest (business, NGO, legal), and an in-person interview conducted by members of the professional community.

Selected participants are then placed with community organizations in the U.S. that will prepare the program for the participants, including arranging a hands-on internship with volunteer companies and organizations of similar interest and housing with American families that volunteer to open their homes to the participants.


For more information, contact:
Community Connections
301 4th Street, SW, Room 224
Washington, DC 20547
Phone: (202)401-6884
Fax: (202)260-0440
Email:
Community Connections



On October 1, 1999, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will become part of the
U.S. Department of State. Bureau webpages are being updated accordingly. Thank you for your patience.