Monday, May 16, 2011

The Public Service Work Generation

When I got into work today, I came across an interesting article while browsing the web.  It was a article about the sharp increase in college graduates doing public service work.  This isn't breaking news or anything, but I found the article very moving and it got me thinking about how this young generation is really renewing the public service concepts of their grandparents.

One of the recurring themes of the article is that these young people are not just doing public service because of a weakened economy; they are doing it because they really have a passion for it.  In fact, every one of these individuals interviewed mentioned how this was something they always wanted to do, and many of them have been doing this kind of work since they were very young.  Organizations like AmeriCorps are very much responsible in helping these young Americans connect with nonprofit and public service jobs. While graduates certainly appreciate the student loan help these organizations provide, they are also relishing the chance to really make a difference.  And, as an added benefit, they are gaining valuable national service experience that will make them attractive candidates for nonprofit jobs. 

The most interesting thing about all of this, however, is that many people view the younger generation of Americans as lazy.  Just looking at some of the comments in the Knoxnews article, I saw some people saying how these "youngsters" won't be satisfied with the stipends they get from these programs.  And in general, there is a perception that this generation is too obsessed with material things.  Yet this simply doesn't jive with what we are seeing with today's youth.  While it's true there are some who fit the stereotype, I think we are seeing the rise of a new service generation.  And, frankly, it will be for the benefit of our nation as a whole.

If you are interested, you can read the whole Knoxnews article by clicking here.

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