August 17, 2002 - New York Times: Jobs Scarce, Many Heed Call to Serve in Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 08 August 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: August 17, 2002 - New York Times: Jobs Scarce, Many Heed Call to Serve in Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, August 18, 2002 - 8:10 pm: Edit Post

Jobs Scarce, Many Heed Call to Serve in Peace Corps





Read and comment on this story from the New York Times that says that Peace Corps applications nationwide are up 17 percent since late January and that Peace Corps officials are thrilled about the increase and say they do not know exactly what to attribute it to, but they point to three crucial factors: an abysmal job market, a post-Sept. 11 civic consciousness and a presidential plea for Americans to increase their volunteerism. Read the story at:

Jobs Scarce, Many Heed Call to Serve in Peace Corps*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



Jobs Scarce, Many Heed Call to Serve in Peace Corps

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

CHICAGO, Aug. 17 Emily Halpin had no luck finding a job this spring, so she joined the Peace Corps and will be packing her bags for Nicaragua next month.

Ms. Halpin, who has had a longstanding interest in the Peace Corps, joins a record number of people seeking to volunteer. Peace Corps applications nationwide are up 17 percent since late January. The Chicago office, which reported a 111 percent jump in applications in the metro area from February through June, compared with that period in 2001, has hired two additional recruiters.

Peace Corps officials, thrilled about the increase, say they do not know exactly what to attribute it to, but they point to three crucial factors: an abysmal job market, a post-Sept. 11 civic consciousness and a presidential plea for Americans to increase their volunteerism.

"The job market has to play into this," said Scot Roskelly, a spokesman for the Peace Corps in Chicago. "It's not what it used to be, especially for people coming out of college."

Ms. Halpin, 21, who graduated from Ohio State University in June with a degree in animal science, said that after attending two job fairs, sending a dozen resumes to zoos, sanctuaries and private companies and attending six interviews, she got nothing but rejection letters.

"I don't know anyone who graduated with me who has a job," she said.

But college graduates are not the only ones finding themselves jobless and thinking of leaving the country.

Mary Weiland, 48, a materials manager until she was laid off in July, joined 21 other people at a Peace Corps information session on Thursday.

Ms. Weiland said she had always wanted to join the corps but was searching for the right time.

The increase in applications comes as a recent report from the General Accounting Office said disorganization in the Peace Corps may have contributed to a lack of safety for volunteers.

The Peace Corps, which cites volunteer safety as one of its top priorities, removed 300 volunteers from countries near Afghanistan, like Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, shortly after Sept. 11. Thirty have returned.

Jeff Thorn, 24, left for Uzbekistan in the summer of 1999, three months after graduating from Yale University with a degree in political theory.

"I think a lot of college students have romantic notions about the Peace Corps," he said. "I was content to go wherever they sent me."

His tour was over last September, and he chose the 12th as his day to fly home. But with flights grounded after the terrorist attacks, he was stranded in England for more than a week. Mr. Thorn said he was eager to set foot on American soil, but felt guilty about leaving Uzbekistan at such a critical time.



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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps - Recruitment

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