In 2017, David Kilroy became the LIGHTS’ program’s first VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) member. He worked hard, learned a ton, and ultimately got a longer term job out of the experience. In his blog post, David talks about how an entrepreneurial mindset helped him be productive and create value as an AmeriCorps VISTA as he had a clearly defined goal, lived to provide value, took personal responsibility, remained adaptable, and became fearless.


But, why did David decide to be an Americorps VISTA in the LIGHTS program? In his words, “I decided I wanted to be because of the amount of experience I could get while substantial amount of experience and ownership in creating something with the LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network.


Can you answer yes to any of the following?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider joining AmeriCorps VISTA after graduating. With AmeriCorps VISTA, you have a chance to live and serve in the community and focus area of your choice. For a one-year commitment, you will receive a modest living allowance, a $5,815 education award (to put towards education expenses like student loans), health and childcare coverage, and many more benefits.


Most importantly, you will be working alongside community leaders and local organizations to make a lasting impact A LIGHTS VISTA will foster new capacity for students and residents to find employment career pathways, build businesses, and make new products all with the intention of alleviating poverty and building economic vitality.


The following organizations are hiring AmeriCorps VISTA members now to help setup new workforce, entrepreneurship, and makerspace programs!

Ironton, Ohio – Ohio University Southern Campus – Southern Launch

Marietta, Ohio – Building Bridges to Careers – Epicenter

Portsmouth,Ohio – Shawnee State University – Kricker Innovation Hub

Zanesville, Ohio – Zane State College – IDEA Lab

Athens, Ohio – ReUse Industries – Athens MakerSpace


Visit to learn about the program, benefits, and how to apply!

About LIGHTS: Ohio University’s Innovation Center founded the LIGHTS (Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability) Regional Innovation Network in 2016.  LIGHTS catalyzes the creation of companies to create high-wage jobs, and attract greater private investment in the coal-impacted regions of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The Appalachian Regional Commission generously funded the program to develop world-class business incubators and makerspaces serving a 26-county area. To learn more, please visit the About section.