Millenials Seek Public Service Jobs


"It appears that for the first time in years, there are as many openings in the public sector as there are in the private," said Hotard. Prior to the current downturn in the economy, there were more job opportunities in the private sector. That "puts a lot of pressure on the millennials looking for a job in public service."

Walters' experience and the 2011 jobs outlook might suggest that young college graduates have few employment options in the public sector. But Jummy Obayanju, a senior majoring in public relations at Howard University in Washington, D.C., found success in discovering a path to public service.

Obayanju is one of a select few hundred university students from around the country who has committed to Teach For America (TFA), a public service program that recruits college graduates to teach for two years in low-income communities around the country.

Record Number of Teach For America Applicants

"For most of my college career I wanted to get a job in my major and go to law school, Teach For America was only something I had thought about a few times prior to my senior year," said Obayanju.

But after Obayanju met with TFA recruiters at Howard, she began looking deeper into the program. "Speaking with the TFA recruiter ignited this passion within me to make a difference. So I figured if I was applying for corporate jobs, why not apply somewhere I could do good while gaining new experiences?"

Anthony Lucci, a senior at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., majoring in business economics, was also chosen to join TFA.

"TFA offers an incredible opportunity for me to do some magnificent work for those less fortunate while being fully employed," he told "I can't think of another program, public or private, I'd rather be doing right now."

In 2005, TFA had an estimated 17,000 applicants for 2,000 positions. Today the number of applicants has more than doubled, with a record number of 46,000 individuals applying to join with only a 12 percent acceptance rate.

Volunteering: An Alternate Entry to Public Sector

While some millennials are seeking jobs in the public sector, there are others who are finding a place to start their careers in the public sector by volunteering.

After six months of careful consideration and research, Caroline Egan, a junior biomedical engineering major at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, made a two-year commitment to the Peace Corps upon graduation in May 2012.

"I want to work in an active environment and provide for those in need of my immediate assistance. Helping others is my top priority," said Egan.

In October 2010, the Peace Corps created another 1,000 volunteer positions to make a 40-year high in the number of volunteers enlisted. However, among the 13,500 new applicants in 2010, only one third of those applicants were accepted into the program.

Today there are currently 8,655 volunteers in 71 posts serving 77 countries.

Public Sector Jobs May Open Up As Workforce Retires

After living in New York City for a year while she attended New York University, Egan saw how harsh some living conditions could be and knew she wanted to do something where she could make a difference.

"The real problem is the thousands of men, women, and children that die every year from malnutrition, sickness and/or disease. My purpose in life is to decrease those numbers every year," said Egan.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: People stand in prayer after marching about a mile to the police station to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, Aug. 20, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.
Charlie Riedel/AP Photo
A-Rod Buys Meryl Streeps LA Home
Zillow | Inset: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Paul Hames/California Department of Water Resources via Getty Images|Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
PHOTO: Jars of Nutella are displayed on a shelf at a market, Aug. 18, 2014, in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images