March 31, 2015
Arizona State is the first university to sign on as an Employer of National Service, an initiative announced by President Obama last fall. The program is aimed at getting employers to consider hiring those who served in the AmeriCorps program and the Peace Corps. The announcement was made at a ceremony held March 30 at the Downtown Phoenix campus with students, faculty and national service alumni in attendance.
“As we have been searching around the country looking for employers who care and value Peace Corps and AmeriCorps alums, I’m thrilled that Arizona State University if the very first university in the nation to join Employers of National Service, the very first,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
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Spencer’s agency oversees AmeriCorps, which has more than 900,000 alumni since the program was created in 1994.
Analisa LaCour is one of them. She participated in the Public Allies program through the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. She served two ten-month stints working with Native American youth and teens. First as an after-school academic coordinator in 2009-2010, then as a youth services coordinator the following year.
“I am grateful for the opportunities that have opened up to me as a result of my time with Public Allies,” said LaCour. “I’m additionally thankful that ASU is committed to being an Employer of National Service. It’s wonderful to work for an institution that recognizes and values what an employee like me brings. We’re passionate, we’re solutions-oriented and we’re dedicated to serving the communities we care about.”
A community college transfer coordinator at the ASU West campus in Glendale, LaCour is finishing her master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education in the Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College. She aspires to create an ASU preparatory academy on local Native American reservations.
“Being involved in national service has not only opened up professional opportunities, it changed the way I thought about what I could accomplish in my own life,” said LaCour.
Since the Employer of National Service program began last fall, more than 200 businesses, governments and nonprofits have signed up, including Sodexo, Disney and the American Red Cross. Spencer hopes ASU joining the ranks will spur other organizations to do the same.
For those considering national service, Spencer pointed to research that shows the impact such experience can have when it comes to looking for work.
“If you volunteer and you’re unemployed and searching for work, you increase the likelihood of getting a job by 27 percent,” said Spencer. “Pretty significant! If you live in a rural community, it jumps up to 55 percent as an advantage.”
As a condition of being a National Employer of Service, organizations are asked to indicate an interest in hiring AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni or provide a way for applicants to list national service experience on an application such as a check box. The city of Philadelphia gives national service alumni five points credit on the city’s civil service exam. ASU is still in the process of determining which method will be used.
For more information, visit the Employer of National Service website.