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MSU Extension Volunteer Selection Process (VSP)

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April 13, 2021 - Author:

Volunteers are the most essential partners we have in MSU Extension. They create life-changing experiences, provide millions of dollars in added value in our communities, and help us reach broad audiences across the state.

Safety is Our No. 1 Priority

MSU Extension is firmly committed to the safety of those who take part in our programming by providing a thorough screening, selection and training process for MSU Extension volunteers. This helps to protect those who work alongside us or directly with youth, as well as the people we serve. It also enables us to prepare volunteers for positive experiences that enrich their lives, and the lives of others.

Becoming an MSU Extension Volunteer

The MSU Extension Volunteer Selection Process (VSP) is used to screen potential volunteers and if selected, match them with appropriate roles that fit their interests and skillsets. VSP begins with an online application through Volunteer Central. Based on the program and geographic area selected by the applicant, a local MSU Extension staff member will be assigned to lead the VSP. Statewide support staff assist with portions of the process and the Volunteer Excellence Support Team (VEST) serves as a resource to staff in navigating the process.

MSU Extension has two levels of volunteer, Gold and Silver. The screening required is based on whether the applicant is applying for a Gold or Silver level role. You can learn more about the levels of volunteers by reviewing the MSU Extension Volunteer Definitions document.

Steps to Become a Gold Level MSU Extension Volunteer

The following are the steps to become a Gold level MSU Extension volunteer:

  • Application Submission and Review
  • Criminal History Check
    • National background check and sex offender registry check run through NCSI.
    • State of Michigan check run by MSU Extension staff using Michigan ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool).
    • Campus-based staff review results and consult with local staff when results indicate previous criminal activity.
  • Reference Check
    • A minimum of three references provide feedback through an online form.
    • A mail or phone option is available for references who need it.
  • Interview with MSU Extension Staff
    • Interviews are traditionally held face-to-face with video options allowed in some circumstances.
    • At least one trained staff conducts the interview and when possible, two staff members are present.
  • Volunteer Training and Onboarding
    • Online training modules are accessed via Volunteer Central.
    • All modules are available to all volunteers; requirements for completing modules vary based on program area and role.
    • “Welcome to MSU Extension” module is required for all Gold volunteers.
    • Additional local or program-specific training may be expected.

Steps to Become a Silver Level MSU Extension Volunteer

The following are the steps to become a Silver level MSU Extension volunteer:

  • Application Submission and Review
  • Criminal History Check
    • National background check and sex offender registry check run through NCSI.
    • State of Michigan check run by MSU Extension staff using Michigan ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool).
    • Campus-based staff review results and consult with local staff when results indicate previous criminal activity.
  • Volunteer Training and Onboarding
    • Most required Silver level training will occur locally or on the program site.
    • Silver volunteers have access to all volunteer training modules through Volunteer Central and are encouraged to complete modules that are relevant to their role and interests.

Ongoing Monitoring and Screening

In addition to the initial screening for Gold and Silver level MSU Extension volunteer applicants, MSU Extension staff perform ongoing volunteer screening. This includes the state sex offender check every six months and the state and national criminal history checks every 12 months. 

MSU Extension staff also regularly monitor and document successes and concerns related to volunteer involvement. This is essential to ensuring the volunteer continues to be a match for the program area and volunteer role in which they first applied.

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Tags: msu extension, potential volunteer resources, volunteer central, volunteer policies, volunteer selection process

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