AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni acquire skills that appeal to employers from diverse sectors
Washington, D. C. – As part of the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps commemoration at the White House, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced the formation of Employers of National Service.
The new initiative comes as President Obama leads a White House ceremony that is the centerpiece of a nationwide simultaneous swearing-in ceremony in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The initiative is a result of the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service, which was announced by President Obama in July 2013.
CNCS and its partners, the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps Alums, and the Franklin Project, are leading the effort. They are working with leading employers from private, public, and nonprofit sectors to create recruitment, hiring, and advancement opportunities for individuals who served in AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps.
“National service develops essential skills that make AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni valuable assets for organizations and companies seeking great employees,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps. “We are honored that some of our nation’s leading private, nonprofit, and public employers are recognizing that AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni are strong leaders who are motivated, flexible, innovative, and outcome-oriented.”
“After their service, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and AmeriCorps alums are expert problem-solvers who can implement sustainable change with limited resources and understand diverse perspectives – in other words, they are employees ready to make an impact,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and AmeriCorps alums are perfectly positioned to help employers compete and succeed in the global economy.”
Employers of National Service helps organizations take steps to recruit national service alumni. These steps include indicating interest in hiring alumni in relevant job postings and placing a checkbox on job applications that asks about past national service experience. CNCS and its partners are actively recruiting new employers from all sectors to sign on as Employers of National Service. The initial list of charter members includes corporations, nonprofits, municipal organizations, and federal agencies.
Corporations include Comcast and NBC Universal, CSX, Disney, McChrystal Group, Sonoma Raceway, Trojan Battery Company, and Civic Enterprises.
“At CSX, we know that people make the difference. National service alumni have the proven ability to get things done, with talent, leadership, and a goal-oriented attitude to the workplace. CSX is proud to be an Employer of National Service, giving opportunities to these talented individuals and bring that leadership to our workforce of tomorrow,” said Michael Ward, CEO of CSX.
“Comcast and NBCUniversal have been long-time supporters of national service and AmeriCorps, including City Year, and are proud to support their incredible volunteers,” said William Strahan, Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Comcast. “These AmeriCorps members have a passion for making a positive impact in their communities, and we believe they will bring that same dedication as our employees. We are proud to be a part of Employers of National Service and encourage AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni to join our team at Comcast and NBCUniversal.”
“Disney salutes AmeriCorps on 20 years of mobilizing our nation into action through volunteerism and service, and we are honored to be part of the Employers of National Service initiative. As a company whose employees have volunteered more than eight million hours of their time over the last three decades, Disney shares AmeriCorps’s belief that we each have the power to make a difference in our communities and the world around us,” said Jayne Parker, EVP and Chief H.R. Officer for the Walt Disney Company.
Employers from the nonprofit sector include American Red Cross, City Year, Habitat for Humanity International, Points of Light, and United Way America as well as Achievement Network, AmeriCorps Alums, Be the Change, Inc, National Conference on Citizenship, ServiceNation, The Franklin Project, and Voices for National Service.
“Points of Light is committed to hiring employees who know how to ‘get things done,’ which is why we hire AmeriCorps alums. Alums are are experienced and proven professionals with the skills that our communities, the country, and the economy needs,” said Tracy Hoover, President, Points of Light.
“Serving with Habitat provides AmeriCorps members with important skillsets and enables them to become experts on affordable housing issues. AmeriCorps alumni who are recruited to join Habitat full time are extremely beneficial to our organization and serve as a great resource for furthering Habitat’s mission,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.
“These alumni are proven leaders with the commitment and resolve to get things done. They would be a valuable addition to any organization,” said Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. President of United Way Worldwide.
At the municipal level, Cities of Service has signed on and the city of Nashville is the first city to be an Employer of National Service.
"I am proud that Nashville is the first local government to participate in the new Employers of National Service program," Mayor Karl Dean said. "We are making a strong statement that national service alumni - whether they served with AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps - have the kind of unique and transferable skills that are valued in the Metro Government workplace."
Numerous federal agencies are among the charter Employers of National Service including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the National Park Service, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services as well as the Corporation for National and Community Service and Peace Corps.
“National Service participants gain valuable experience and learn critical competencies, knowledge, and skills that translate directly to Federal work,” said U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta. “They are a talent pool that can build agencies' workforce strength and help agencies meet their missions.”
As a result of the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service, OPM Director Archuleta recently issued guidance to help federal agencies recruit and hire alumni of AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. This guidance forms the basis of federal efforts on Employers of National Service and recognizes the talents and skills of national service alumni and provides standardized language for agencies to include in job opportunity announcements that allows applicants to list their national service and volunteer experience among their qualifications. At least 20 agencies are already using the language in thousands of individual job postings on USAjobs.gov.
More than 900,000 individuals have participated in AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps members serve communities across the country through organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, City Year, Teach for America, and the American Red Cross. More than 215,000 individuals have served in Peace Corps, making a lasting impact on these individuals and the communities in which they served. Peace Corps volunteers serve in 65 countries around the world. Participants in both programs have worked as educators, emergency responders, economic development advisors, disaster preparation and recovery leaders, and counselors.
“Public, private, and nonprofit recruiters tell us time and again that AmeriCorps alumni are just what they’re looking for: proven, dedicated, results-oriented leaders…. the best of America” said Mary Bruce and Ben Duda, Co-Executive Directors of AmeriCorps Alums. “Employers of National Service is a critical step to connect those who have served our country through national service to organizations seeking top talent.”
“AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni bring a strong track record of commitment, skills and results to the table, so it’s no surprise employers are lining up to hire them. I hope this new initiative helps more young people see a year of service as a common expectation for their career path, the same way graduating from high school is today," said former senator Harris Wofford, Senior Advisor at the Franklin Project and a former CEO of CNCS who also helped launch the Peace Corps as an advisor to President Kennedy.
Employers of National Service will have a competitive edge in reaching a large and diverse pool of talented individuals and have their job opportunities highlighted to a vast network of talented job seekers. They will also attend a special convening this fall to guide and grown this initiative. More information is available at www.nationalservice.gov/employers.