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Wendy Spencer
Wendy Spencer is the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and other programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information on Senior Corps, visit

Entries by Wendy Spencer

Why Job Candidates from Peace Corps and AmeriCorps Are Good for Business

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 4:51 PM

Above, watch a panel of national service and employment leaders discuss how hiring decisions are made, what skills national service alumni bring to employers, and the future of the Employers of National Service initiative.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet is director of Peace Corps. Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. On the one-year anniversary of the Employers of National Service initiative, Hessler-Radelet and Spencer explain why businesses should make an effort to hire individuals who have served in Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

Mission oriented. Globally minded. Proven leadership experience in complex, unpredictable environments. Exceptional intercultural skills. Adept at managing limited resources to ensure long-term impact. Flexible. Collaborative. Passionate.

Believe it or not, highly skilled, exceptionally qualified candidates like the ones described above do exist, and not just on paper. They're ready, willing, and available, and now, there's a better way than ever for employers to tap into that talent pipeline.

One year ago, President Barack Obama announced a forward-thinking initiative -- Employers of National Service -- to connect alumni of our nation's service corps with our country's leading employers. He urged employers from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to participate, saying: "If you're an employer who wants to hire talented, dedicated, patriotic, skilled, tireless, energetic workers, look to AmeriCorps, look to Peace Corps... Citizens who perform national service are special. You want them on your team."

As leaders of America's foremost service organizations, we are inspired daily by the incredible contributions that Peace Corps volunteers and AmeriCorps members make to our country and our world. But their lasting impact goes beyond the ways in which they change lives in the communities where they serve; it's also evident in the unique skills, insights, and experiences that they gain from their service -- sought-after assets for any organization in any sector.

Consider volunteers like Cully Davis, who served with Peace Corps as an English teacher in Thailand. Today, he is managing director at Credit Suisse, helping to oversee equity capital market growth in the Americas. And he credits his Peace Corps experience with fostering many of the traits critical to his day-to-day work, from patience to creativity to managing ambiguity. "These are skills I use today as a managing partner, identifying innovative high-technology companies and helping them finance further growth," he said.

Jessica Graham spent two years as an AmeriCorps National Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools in Boston. She currently works with tech giant Cisco in government and community relations, and her service left her well-prepared for a role in the corporate world. The skills she developed through AmeriCorps enhanced her passions for service and connecting communities with corporate resources to solve local challenges. "Service teaches members to be someone who is invested in success for everyone," she said. "And you see how your little piece of the pie can fit into the bigger picture."

The idea of national service alumni as an outstanding talent source for employers isn't new. Multinational corporations and international NGOs have been hiring returned Peace Corps volunteers for decades. And domestically, AmeriCorps alumni have been sought-after hires since the program's inception 20 years ago.

What is new with Employers of National Service -- a partnership among Peace Corps, theCorporation for National and Community Service, the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute, AmeriCorps Alums, and National Peace Corps Association -- is the effort to formalize these connections and take what has been an informal network of employers to scale. Through this partnership, employers gain increased access to a dedicated, highly qualified, and mission-oriented pool of potential employees. National service alumni gain additional opportunities to apply their skills in the workplace.

One year since Obama's call to action, nearly 250 employers from private, public, and nonprofit sectors have signed on as Employers of National Service. They've seen, as Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. president of United Way Worldwide, put it, that the alumni of our nation's service corps are:

Proven leaders with the commitment and resolve to get things done. They encompass diverse skill sets and experience that enable them to work effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds, which is so crucial for resolving community challenges. They would be a valuable addition to any organization.

When we look at the growing list of participating groups, what's evident is not just the number of employers who are eager to hire service alumni, but also the incredible diversity of organizations represented:

The list above may seem like a disparate group, but what they have in common is they are all excited about tapping into our talented pool of national service alumni. In the years to come, we look forward to helping even more employers connect with the mission-oriented pool of potential employees available among our nation's service corps.

So, if you're an employer eager to hire motivated, flexible, innovative, and outcome-oriented leaders, we want to hear from you. If you're an AmeriCorps alum or a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer hoping to advance your career, we want to help you connect with the next great opportunity.

Whether you're looking to fill a job or find a job, we hope you'll start with Employers of National Service -- an innovative initiative dedicated to helping organizations of all kinds find just what they're looking for -- people with the grit, skills, and spirit to get the job done.

Learn more about becoming an Employer of National Service member by visiting the Corporation for National and Community Service website.

This post was originally published on September 15, 2015 on The Aspen Idea...

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The Strength of the Gulf Coast - From Destruction to Growth and Recovery

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 12:41 PM

My visit to Waveland, Mississippi, last week brought back one of the most searing images of destruction I have seen in my nearly two decades of working in the disaster response and volunteer management field.

Ten years ago, I was serving as...

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Keeping Education Connected to National Service

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 1:58 PM

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Shaping a Culture of Inclusion

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 3:04 PM

Volunteers serve at the Capital Area Food Band during the 2014 MLK Day of Service.

Rooted in the ingenuity of everyday Americans, the spirit of service reminds us that...

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A Call to Action: Summer Service

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 5:27 PM

As a mother, I always strived to ensure that my children had access to educational opportunities that extended beyond the traditional school year.

And as the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that...

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AmeriCorps Tutors Boost Literacy, Give Kids Tools for Success

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 10:38 AM

One of my priorities as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service is using evidence and data to show results and drive greater impact on pressing national challenges. That's why I'm so excited about new research that demonstrates AmeriCorps tutors are increasing literacy and kindergarten readiness...

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Summer of Service Gives Boost to Jobseekers

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 3:54 PM

Around this time of year, many young people are well into summer jobs. Taking advantage of time between school years, they're gaining skills and experience that can translate to future employment success. For some, this might be their first job and they are learning what happens in a work environment....

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Green Service: Creating Opportunity and Protecting Our Planet

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 9:06 PM

Like many transitioning service members, Mike Bremer was having a tough time finding work after he came home. Then he joined AmeriCorps, serving on the all veterans fire team with the Southwest Conservation Corps. With the skills he learned, Mike was able to secure a job with the...

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AmeriCorps: Changing the Education Story

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 10:01 AM

Whenever the talk begins about our nation making quality education a priority, it's no surprise that some may be cynical. After all, we have too many children entering school unprepared, too many falling behind early, and too many dropping out before graduation. Why can't we change this story? The truth...

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The Mentoring Effect

(0) Comments | Posted January 31, 2014 | 3:04 PM

Can a simple mentoring relationship rescue a life in peril? In a world with few easy solutions, there are innumerable stories -- and a new survey -- that demonstrate this could be possible. Let's start with one of these stories.

Dago was on the...

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Volunteering Is a Core American Value

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 10:28 AM

During this holiday season, we are reminded of a timeless lesson: it is better to give than receive, more blessed to serve than be served. And our new Volunteering and Civic Life in America report shows that Americans embrace this idea -- not only during the holidays, but...

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Sandy's Survivors: Stronger Than the Storm

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 12:16 PM

When Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast last year, areas that rarely saw a storm of that magnitude discovered what it was like to live through a disaster. Experiences like this reinforce what it really means to say that we're all in this together.

This week, storm survivors in...

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AmeriCorps: Capturing a Renewable Resource for Good

(0) Comments | Posted September 20, 2013 | 5:51 PM

Is it possible to effectively harness youthful enthusiasm and idealism and turn it into it a renewable resource for good? We think so. Twenty years ago, President Clinton signed a bill that created AmeriCorps and gave our country a new outlet for national service that did just that....

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It's Up to Us to Be Ready When Disasters Strike

(1) Comments | Posted September 13, 2013 | 11:16 AM

When I served as the CEO of the Florida Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, eight hurricanes -- including Rita and Katrina -- struck the state during a particularly rough period from 2004 to 2005. While the storms caused billions of dollars in damage, they really highlighted the importance...

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AmeriCorps VISTA Working With Partners to Expand Opportunity

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 11:05 AM

To strengthen our communities, we have to break down the barriers that can discourage Americans from building a better life for themselves and their families. Whether these barriers to economic opportunity are structural or behavioral, change is possible, and our AmeriCorps VISTAs are leading the way by creating partnerships that...

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A Presidential Spotlight on National Service

(0) Comments | Posted July 26, 2013 | 1:06 PM

A few years ago, a young teenager named Chris was living the street life in Austin, Texas, a high school dropout dealing drugs and facing bleak prospects for the future. While spending time at a juvenile detention center, two Senior Corps volunteers offered Chris love, support, and consistent finger-wagging, encouraging...

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We Need More Companies in the Business of Change

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 10:35 AM

Imagine what would happen if the marketing experts behind your favorite Super Bowl ad developed a campaign to help a nonprofit recruit volunteers or raise awareness of an important cause. Or if the engineers at a leading technology company served as tutors at a local school, bringing STEM subjects (science,...

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Senior Corps: Making a Difference for Generations

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2013 | 9:10 AM

All last week we celebrated the extraordinary contributions of the 360,000 men and women who make up our Senior Corps.

From coast to coast, elected officials and community leaders have recognized the value and impact of Senior Corps -- including 45 governors who have issued proclamations for...

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Honoring a Legacy of Service: The George H.W. Bush Volunteer Generation Fund

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 12:05 PM

America is a nation of volunteers. Results from our annual Volunteering in America survey show how willing our friends and neighbors are to lend a helping hand. More than 64 million Americans volunteer each year, strengthening the nation's safety net and providing vital services to our communities.


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Harris Wofford: Celebrating a Beacon of Citizen Service

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 4:26 PM

The Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation's second-highest civilian honor, recognizes American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. Sen. Harris Wofford will be honored along with other recipients at a White House ceremony on Friday, Feb. 15.

We are thrilled...

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