The school year has only just begun, but graduating students are already feeling the pressure to plan for the future. Although some organizations won’t start to pick from our fine stock of seniors until the spring or summer, it can be tough to shake off that gray cloud of post-grad uncertainty in the meantime. On top of concerns about making ends meet, Wesleyan students often hope to find “meaningful” work – to do good, not just well – and as a final cherry on this anxiety sundae, they may long for adventure and fear a tedious day-to-day.
Fortunately, there are several programs in the United States and around the world that invite graduates to work for social change and gain excellent professional experience. These opportunities, which have largely been modeled after the Peace Corps, often focus on service, but the model has recently been adapted for other kinds of valuable work in schools, nonprofits, startups, and beyond.
The stipends for these programs are generally modest, but what they lack in pay they make up for in other unique benefits. As alternatives to traditional entry-level positions, there is often an emphasis on breadth of experience, and participants are exposed to a wide array of tasks and skills, rather than a narrow range of responsibilities. The organizations generally value professional development and strive to provide mentorship, learning opportunities, and alumni networks. They may also take people quite literally off the beaten path, siphoning grads away from cities like New York, San Francisco, and D.C. and into lower-cost places around the country and the world. This temporary relocation is at the root of some of the criticism leveled at programs like Teach for America and the Peace Corps, but many people have also argued for the benefits of these placements for both volunteers or employees and their new communities.
We’ve assembled a list of programs offering 10 – 27 months of experience in a variety of fields. The list is hardly complete, as new programs seem to come up every year, and we have excluded teacher’s residency programs (like UTC and BTR) and many of the organizations that partner with AmeriCorps VISTA or receive grants around the United States. Check back for updates and please let us know if we’ve left out any good opportunities!
“The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is calling on people ages 19 – 30 to join a network of young adults who will be paid to lead grassroots social justice campaigns across the U.S. to mobilize their communities to influence members of Congress. Approximately 15 applicants will be selected to take part in the year-long program, which will kick off with a 12-day Summer Intensive Training in August 2015 in Washington, D.C. Members of the network will be trained and supported by FCNL staff and volunteers across the country to achieve real policy goals and make concrete change”
Due April 1, 2015
AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps“AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps strengthens the Jewish community’s fight against the causes and effects of poverty in the United States. We do this by engaging participants in service and community building that inspire them to become lifelong leaders for social change whose work for justice is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values.”
B Corps Fellowship
B Corps Fellows will be trained to work with thousands of companies to measure and manage the impact of their businesses on their workers, communities, and the environment with as much rigor as their profits.
Due December 31, 2014
“Change Corps is a training academy for activists — a one-year, paid, full-time, full-immersion training program in grassroots organizing that will give you the skills you need to make a difference on issues our generation cares about.”
Contact: Hannah Adams ’13 (Hannah@changecorps.org, 202-531-9195)
Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship
“The Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship is a paid AmeriCorps national service opportunity for individuals dedicated to directly impacting the futures of middle school students in low income communities across America. Your commitment of two years of service grants students months of extra learning that translates into college readiness, career opportunity and the ability to achieve their dreams.”
“City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization that partners with public schools to help keep students in school and on track to graduate.” Corps members commit to 11 months of serving at a public school in the United States, South Africa, or England.
Next Deadline: February 15, 2014
Community Health Corps
“Community HealthCorps is the largest health-focused, national AmeriCorps program that promotes health care for America’s underserved, while developing tomorrow’s health care workforce… The vision of Community HealthCorps is to become a national service pipeline for careers in community health centers that is improving access to necessary primary and preventative care services for the medically underserved.”
“FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Through our partnership with AmeriCorps, we recruit, train and place emerging leaders into limited-resource schools for a year of service implementing our three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids.”
Application available January 9, 2015
“The mission of Green Corps is to train organizers, provide field support for today’s critical environmental campaigns, and graduate activists who possess the skills, temperament, and commitment to fight and win tomorrow’s environmental battles.”
Contact: Isabel Stern ’14 (Isabel@greencorps.org, 508-479-9424)
“HealthCorps Coordinators lead unique in-school and community programming designed to foster physical and mental fitness, particularly among high-need populations. The Coordinators serve as peer-mentors who deliver a progressive curriculum in nutrition, exercise and mental strength to students nationwide. For more than a decade, the HealthCorps program has inspired its participants to adopt a healthier lifestyle. And the HealthCorps schools have served as Living Labs through which we can explore the complex, underlying causes of the obesity crisis, as well as discover, communicate implement and advocate for national and regional solutions.”
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
“The Jesuit Volunteer Corps, in collaboration with the Society of Jesus, enhances the capacity of local organizations to serve their communities by providing Jesuit Volunteers to directly serve the poor and marginalized in the U.S. and developing countries. For a year or more Jesuit Volunteers live simply, in community, immersed in Ignatian Spirituality.”
LEAP Skills Academy Fellowship
“LEAP (Learning, Employability and Progress) is a skill development organisation headquartered in New Delhi. LEAP aims to bridge the gap between the skills that students have and those that employers require in order to hire them. LEAP will follow a regional approach and will provide life-long skills as well as sector specific skills to students allowing them to create careers of their own choice.”
“LIFT works to lift families in the United States out of poverty for good. We take a people-powered approach to fighting poverty: A network of Community Members, Advocates and Advisors work together to build the strong personal, social and financial foundations people need to get ahead. We have resource centers in neighborhoods in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, where trained volunteers work with families to find a decent job, safe housing or a good education for themselves or their kids.”
Resident in Social Enterprise (RISE) Fellowship at New Sector Alliance
“The New Sector AmeriCorps Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) program is an 11-month fellowship program for emerging leaders committed to careers in social impact… Fellows serve full-time to strengthen nonprofit organizations, while engaging in intensive professional development activities to strengthen their skills for immediate and future impact.”
Round 2 Deadline: March 6, 2015
Contact: Alex Cantrell ’14 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps Volunteers work at the grassroots level toward sustainable change that lives on long after their service—at the same time becoming global citizens and serving their country.”
Princeton in Asia
“The essence of PiA is to provide transformative, service-oriented experiences for bright, talented graduates and to serve the needs of Asia as determined by our host institutions and Asian partners. PiA arranges fellowships and internships with Asian host organizations in the fields of education, health, international development, environmental advocacy, journalism, engineering, technology, law and business.”
Deadline: November 14, 2014
“Public Allies’ mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation… The Public Allies signature AmeriCorps Ally Program identifies diverse young adults and prepares them for leadership through paid full-time nonprofit apprenticeships and rigorous leadership training.”
Deadlines vary by location.
“We invite talented university graduates to partner with Pittsburgh nonprofits to develop the next generation of servant leaders in our city. Nonprofit partners receive a young, talented, university graduate to build capacity in their organization while participants receive valuable job training and skill development.”
Due March 1, 2015
Teach for America
“TFA is a national teacher corps of college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years and raise student achievement in public schools.”
Due January 30, 2015
Venture for America
“Venture for America will recruit the best and brightest college grads to work for two years at emerging start-ups and early-stage companies in lower-cost cities (e.g., Detroit, Providence, New Orleans). Modeled after Teach for America, Venture for America will provide a path for entrepreneurship to college grads who want to learn how to build companies and create jobs.”
Next Deadline: January 12, 2015
Villers Fellowship for Health Care Justice
“The Villers Fellowship for Health Care Justice was created in 2005 by Philippe Villers, founder and President of Families USA, to inspire and develop the next generation of health care justice leaders. The goal of the Villers Fellowship program is three-fold: to develop a network of young leaders who share a passion for social and health care justice; to inspire Villers Fellows to continue working for health care justice throughout their lives; to help achieve Families USA’s goal of guaranteed, high-quality, affordable health care for all of us.”
Due January 23, 2015
“The Wellstone Fellow’s primary responsibilities include drafting talking points, blogs, fact sheets, and other publications, as well as developing content for the Families USA website and email lists that promotes health equity and the reduction and elimination of disparities in health and health care. During the year, the fellow will learn about health reform implementation, health equity, the private insurance market, health system improvement, and other important health policy issues. At the same time, the Wellstone Fellow will develop an understanding of the tactics and strategies used in state-based consumer health advocacy organizations.”
Due February 6, 2015
Young People For
“The Young People For fellowship is a leadership development program focusing on identifying, engaging and empowering young progressive leaders. The one-year fellowship equips college students with the skills and resources necessary to create lasting change on their campuses and in their communities.”
Due February 7, 2015
Contact: Gabriela De Golia ’13 (email@example.com)