Volunteers have higher odds of finding employment in today’s job market. A recent study by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) found that volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job out of being out of work than non-volunteers.
The study found that volunteering helps with the development of professional contacts, networks, employment leads and social relationships. It also helped with the expansion of knowledge, skills, leadership opportunities and work experience.
Individuals living in rural areas benefited the greatest from their volunteer service, with a 55 percent increased likelihood of finding employment as a result of their volunteer service. Volunteering in rural areas fostered the development of stronger social networks, which in turn allowed greater access to existing employment opportunities.
Volunteering may assist in “leveling the playing field” for those individuals who typically have a difficulty finding employment, according to the study. This was true for individuals without high school diplomas, who had a 51 percent increase in finding employment. Volunteering provided individuals the opportunity to gain or update skills that are needed in the workplace which in turn made volunteers more attractive to employers, increasing their chances of becoming employed.
AmeriCorps, often referred to as the “domestic Peace Corps,” provides individuals 18 years and older with opportunities to serve their communities while developing their skill set. Full-time members are required to serve 1,700 hours and are provided a living stipend throughout their year of service. Upon completion of the service individuals receive an educational award of $5,645.
For those looking to explore different areas across the U.S. while serving their country, the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) provides a unique opportunity. In this full-time residential program, members age 18-24 travel throughout the country together for 10 months, volunteering at various organizations including nonprofits, government organizations, schools, and national and state parks.
More information on AmeriCorps opportunities can be found here.