A Closer Look with Ross Seidman: New CNCS study shows correlation between volunteering and employment

A few days ago the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) released findings of a study titled, “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment.” This is the first ever study that has taken data to determine the impact that volunteering has on the likelihood of someone finding employment when they were previously out of work. The study, with much aid from the U.S. Census Bureau, sampled over 71,000 people from 2002-2012 to compile these relatively profound results.

Included in the findings was the fact that volunteering actually increases the chances of someone out of work finding employment by 27%. In addition, when isolated for individuals without a high school diploma or living in rural areas the results jumped to a 51% and 55% increase in prospects for employment. Volunteering provides those engaged with social and human capital that they would otherwise be missing. The increase in volunteers’ networks, soft, and hard skills that make a substantial economic difference by their ability to find employment.

As youth unemployment persists at a rate if 16.2%, more than double that of the national average, these findings couldn’t be anymore timely. At a time when the federal budget is under intense scrutiny and the sequester is continuing to hit underserved American families, this study exemplifies the economic necessity to continue funding national service. As the Save Service Campaign continues to advocate against cuts to vital programs like AmeriCorps, it has never been more evident that this should be a bipartisan issue. National service has proven to be both fiscally and socially responsible.

The “Volunteering as a Pathway to Service Report” also supports the extensive benefits that each of our Corps members experience in all across the United States on a daily basis. Not only does service provide a great advantage to the community, but to the volunteers themselves. It is no wonder that studies have found that Millennials are the group most likely to volunteer in community projects. It could not be more crucial to not only maintain support for service programs like Corps all over the country, but increase the funding that would allow for an even broader community impact while providing volunteers with the social and human capital to succeed in the workforce.