While the national and Maine unemployment rates are declining, 7.6% and 6.9% respectively, they are still numbers that are daunting to the unemployed and to the employed feeling job instability.
This blog post is coming to you from someone that has been laid off from all three of her professional jobs in the past thirteen years. Between sequestration and state budget cuts and crisis, the feeling of insecurity is ubiquitous.
The Corporation for National & Community Service has good news for us though. Their new report shows that volunteering increases the odds of finding a job.
Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment looked at data collected from individuals age 16 and older that were interested in finding work. The data was collected over a 10 year period and was evaluated to answer two questions:
Is volunteering associated with an increased likelihood of employment for individuals out of work?
If so, does the relationship between volunteering and employment vary by demographic characteristics, labor market conditions, and community-level factors?
The report highlights three key findings that are really exciting:
1. volunteers are 27% more likely to find employment than non-volunteers,
2. volunteers without a high school diploma have a 51% better chance at finding a job, and
3. volunteers living in rural areas are 55% more likely to find a job than non-volunteers.
Why is this happening? Volunteering increases social interactions and connections. It grows job skills and life experience. All of which are important to becoming gainfully employed.
14.01% of Maine’s high school students either do not graduate or do not graduate on time. Think about the potential volunteering could have on their futures.
Through volunteering and service-learning these students greatly increase their employability. They will learn new skills and knowledge, they will experience new things, and they will make connections that may lead them to employment. Volunteering may not be a substitute for textbook learning but another path for those that do not have a high school diploma.
The 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau lists Maine as the most rural state in the nation (we recently replaced Vermont in this top spot). The data shows that 61.3% of Maine’s population is in a rural area. The U.S. Census Bureau defines rural area as not being an urban area and they define urban area as those areas with population 2,500 or more.
We’ve all heard the saying of, “It’s all in who you know!” This speaks volumes in rural areas. The volunteer setting allows one to uphold their reputation for reliability and work ethic. It gives one the opportunity to create a positive name for them self and have that name networked all over the rural area. On top of that, volunteering increases social connections as well as a social and communicative skill set.
So add “increase odds of finding employment” to the long list of benefits for volunteering.