More and more college graduates are turning to public service jobs. The reasons, according to a recent New York Times article? The recession, the scarcity of “normal” jobs, the centrality of community service among millennials, and the fact that President Obama has made public service “cool.”
In 2009, 16% more college graduates worked for the federal government than in 2008; 11% more worked for nonprofit groups. AmeriCorps alone received 258,829 applications in 2010, up from 91,399 in 2008. Applications for Teach for America increased by 32% last year, to 46,359, a record high.
As a result of these increases, the federal government has experienced a 3% increase in jobs while the private sector has decreased its payroll by 7%.
“It’s not uncommon for me to hear of over 100 applications for a nonprofit position, sometimes many more than that, and many more Ivy League college graduates applying than before,” said Diana Aviv, chief executive of Independent Sector, a trade group for nonprofits. “Some of these people haven’t been employed for a while and are happy to have something. But once they’re there, they’ve recalibrated and reoriented themselves toward public service.”
The NYT article sums it up well: College graduates are ending up “doing good because the economy did them wrong.”
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