New Grads Increasingly Turning to Jobs in Service, Volunteer Sectors
President Obama has followed up on his campaign calls for service with an increase of $241 million in the 2010 federal budget for AmeriCorps and $201 million in the stimulus bill for the Corporation for National and Community Service.
On March 10, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on the Serve America Act, which would expand AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000 positions.
Supporters hope to pass it before Congress recesses in April. The House could vote on its version of the bill as early as this week.
The Senate measure, sponsored by Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would provide $5 billion over five years for minimal living expenses and an educational stipend for people of all ages to volunteer in the fields of health care, energy, education and the environment.
In a statement published for the hearing, Sen. Kennedy said, "Many years ago, on the fifth anniversary of the Peace Corps, I asked one of those young Americans why they had volunteered, and I will never forget the answer: 'It was the first time someone asked me to do something for my country.' Now it's time to ask again."