Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Youth Service as a Pathway for Careers in Public Service

One great advantage for youth to serve, aside from working for the betterment of the community, is the opportunity for young people to learn more about themselves and where they want to take their future career paths. One career field that has a strong connection to youth service is that of public service.

This makes sense: the values and characteristics that are instilled in a person during a service project or year of service - a sense to work for the greater good and betterment of others and the community – often do not disappear once their service term is over. Many choose to continually pursue their call to service from youth to adulthood by establishing their careers in public service, whether it is in education, environment, public safety, government, or military service. Service can serve as a great jumping off point for youth that are interested in public service careers.

A major pipeline from service to careers in public service is AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps mobilizes over 75,000 volunteers each year in addressing community needs in a variety of areas such as education, environment, disaster relief, public safety and other needs that arise. Organized by the Corporation for National and Community Service, these young volunteers, typically ranging in age from 17-24 (although they can be older too) improve lives and strengthen communities in need around the United States.

AmeriCorps provides great job training and fosters the development of skills integral to a successful career in public service, opening up the door for youth to jumpstart their careers in the public sphere. According to a longitudinal study conducted by AmeriCorps, 46% of National and State AmeriCorps Alumni are employed in public service fields, and 61% of these are employed in the government and non-profit sectors. Service Corps to Social Impact Career, written by Amy Potthast at Idealist, is a great manual for AmeriCorps alumni that are interested in pursuing public service careers.

Participation in service organizations not only develops the skills needed for a career in public service, but also creates a fantastic opportunity for networking within the public service sphere. AmeriCorps members, according to the study, report that their service connected them and made them aware of job connections and other career opportunities, and 47% of National and State members said AmeriCorps gave them the connections that helped them find a job. Clearly, the work experience and networking that service members gain during their service opens the door for careers in public service.

The Peace Corps also promotes the professional and career benefits associated with their two year stints of service. The development of skills such as fluency in a foreign language, international experience, and cross-cultural understanding can be very appealing to public service employers. In fact, Peace Corps alumni receive one year of noncompetitive eligibility for employment in the federal government. This is a tremendous advantage, as the employee screening process for the federal government can be a lengthy process. Alumni of the Peace Corps have taken advantage of this opportunity and have gone on to serve as Members of Congress and cabinet secretaries.

Along with AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, there are other service programs available that focus on a specific area of interest in which youth can gain experience for future employment in public service. The Department of Interior has allotted $50 million to the implementation of the 21st Century Conservation Corps.

This Conservation Corps fosters a respect and appreciation for the environment and its natural resources, and provides the opportunity to develop skills and contacts necessary for environmental and natural resource careers. One initiative in particular, the Student Career Experience Program, is designed specifically to support equal opportunity employment objectives and expose youth to careers in public service. These programs give youth the ability to serve in a focused career sector and apply these skills and experiences to future employment opportunities.

No matter the path of service a young person chooses, the skills and connections developed during their service can provide a wealth of opportunity for careers in public service. To find out more about youth service and employment, check out the latest addition of ICP’s monthly newsletter, Service News Worldwide!
Photo by the Corporation for National and Community Service.


Resume said...

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Resume said...
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Mark Taylor said...

Great Information on education which helps the youth to serve, aside from working.For more courses about education click here .


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