Service Year Alliance Calls on Congress To Support Service Year Programs

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Ever heard of a service year? For someone trying to find the right career fit, or looking to change careers, it might just be the thing.

A service year is a paid opportunity to develop real-world skills through hands-on service. A lot of organizations offer service years in a wide array of fields like education, the environment, disaster relief, or healthcare. For instance, for someone interested in sustainable farming that helps fight hunger and poverty could check out this service year with the Grow Ohio group. And there’s always the rewarding path of teaching people to read with the Reading Corps.

Our partners at the Service Year Alliance are currently working to make a year of paid, full-time service—a service year—a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. A service year before, during, or after college—or as a way to find your path—can give someone the chance to transform their lives, make an impact in their community, and become active citizens and leaders for our nation.

And the skills someone can develop during a service year is something that is capturing the attention of many companies who are looking to fill positions. Service Year Alliance President and CEO Shirley Sagawa says the companies they have talked with are excited about service year experiences because they see it as way young people are developing the skills they need to be successful in the workforce. Skills like working on a team, problem solving, working with people from diverse backgrounds, the ability to communicate—all of which are beneficial for a job in any field.

MORE: Five Skills to Help You Stay Relevant at Work

Sagawa says Service Year Alliance realizes there are a lot of issues where we’re not doing a very good job as a country solving big problems—things in the healthcare arena, encouraging people to adopt healthy behaviors, or helping young people succeed in school—that are really labor intensive challenges facing our country.

What Service Year Alliance says it can offer is a labor force that can help solve these problems.

“We really think that this [service year programs] is a solution that can help with so many challenges the country is facing,” says Sagawa.

In order to continue to expand the work service year programs is doing already to help make our country stronger, Service Year Alliance is calling on Congress to reach a budget deal and fund service year programs like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and YouthBuild before a new Congress is sworn in.

Sagawa argues that if the country invests in this with public money that will, in turn, leverage private funds and the combination will save the country a lot of money down the road.

Congress has until Dec. 9 to reach the deal and WorkingNation’s partner is asking all of you to let your Members of Congress know that you support national service as a critical way to bring communities together.

“It’s important that we set the table for some big priorities next year by demonstrating that expanding service year opportunities has broad bipartisan support and a robust constituency ready to take action,” Service Year Alliance says.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Service Year Alliance will be collecting postcards, writing letters, and mobilizing in communities across the country. Making this call to your members of Congress is a critical first step. If you think Congress should support funding for groups like Service Year Alliance, Click here to call your member of Congress today and tell them to LET US SERVE.

OPPORTUNITIES: Check out these open fascinating service year positions

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