#GLI- NGO

Tag: #GLI- NGO

Government Gap Years

By Jonathan Hogan

If you are interested in working in government but you’re not quite ready to commit to a career, or if you are simply looking for something to do between Lawrence and a career and have a background in government, you might want to consider a government gap year. In the following paragraphs, then, I will outline the most prominent programs and what they broadly entail.

Pathways Recent Graduate Program

The broadest program for government gap years is the Pathways Recent Graduate Program. Most broadly, the Pathways program is designed to “provide students [and recent graduates]… with a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and while getting paid for the work performed” (“Students & Recent Graduates”). The Recent Graduates Program, as the name implies, is generally open to students who have graduated in the last two years. An important caveat, as with many government programs, is U.S. citizenship. Interns must have U.S. citizenship by the end of their one-year program. What sets the Pathways program apart is the fact that it is administered by nearly every federal agency. This means that students with interests as differentiated as agricultural and diplomacy could both find Pathways internships working with the State Department and the USDA respectively. Such a variety of programs, nonetheless, makes it difficult to talk about specifics. Most broadly, recent graduate interns are expected to work full-time for a year, for pay, while learning the ins and outs of their agency. Excitingly, one of the benefits of the program includes the possibility of being offered a full-time position at the end of the internship, thus making Pathways an interesting program even for those more certain about a career path with the federal government. To learn more about Pathways programs, it’s best to go to the website of an agency of interest to learn more about their specific practices.

Peace Corps

One of the most prominent gap year programs is the Peace Corps. Broadly, Peace Corps members are deployed to countries around the world where they learn the local language, typically live with a host family, and volunteer their time working on projects ranging from education to community economic development. While experience in the Peace Corps is not an internship with a government agency per se, its challenges of working abroad, fostering cultural and linguistic competencies, and working to support development overlap significantly with many positions in the State Department and USAID. The benefits of the Peace Corps include a stipend of $10,000 upon completion of the 2.5-year program, tuition assistance to a broad list of graduate school programs under Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship, and a higher likelihood of getting a job within the federal government. To learn more, check out the Peace Corps website and get in touch with a local representative. 

State Government Gap-Years

State governments generally have fewer gap year opportunities than the federal government for recent grads, that being said, many states do offer some form of an internship. In Wisconsin, there appears to be only one opportunity for recent grads, namely the Department of Transportation Internship Program. This program can see interns working in a wide variety of areas while “networking with other interns, state government employees, and management” (“Division of Personnel Management Student Internships”). State internships are likely to vary greatly, so it is wise to investigate the programs offered in your state when considering gap years.

AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps, much like the Peace Corps, is a service-based experience in which recent grads can gain experience working to help communities in areas ranging from disaster recovery to education. As the name implies, however, this program sees volunteers help communities in America. It is important to note that AmeriCorps workers work through an NGO partnered with AmeriCorps rather than AmeriCorps itself, thus, volunteering doesn’t constitute government work. Nonetheless, volunteers, who dedicate between a summer and a year of their time to the program are granted not only a reasonable living stipend and student loan repayment assistance but also professional development resources that can help kickstart careers in non-profit and governmental industries. Additionally, dedicating a year of your life/resume to government-sponsored service certainly helps one stand out to potential government employers. To learn more about AmeriCorps, visit their website!

Works Cited

“Division of Personnel Management Student Internships.” Wisconsin.Gov, https://dpm.wi.gov/Pages/Job_Seekers/StudentInternships.aspx. Accessed 18 May 2022.

Home | AmeriCorps. https://americorps.gov/. Accessed 18 May 2022.

“Meet the Moment.” Peace Corps, https://www.peacecorps.gov/. Accessed 18 May 2022.

“Students & Recent Graduates.” U.S. Office of Personnel Management, https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-information/students-recent-graduates/. Accessed 18 May 2022.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Fighting Displacement: Three resettlement NGO’s that support the most vulnerable populations

You can see – and feel – the despair and fear on the faces of over 4 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s advancing army.  Sadly, this is only the latest of many refugee crises our planet has faced in recent years.  From Afghanistan to Sudan, millions have been displaced as they flee war, poverty and oppression. 

Organizations, including the UN, struggle to process the massive waves of people searching for safety and an opportunity to live life with dignity, leading to a greater need for integrative services in countries offering asylum. If you have been exploring the NGO career path, here are three of the best known resettlement agencies:

International Rescue Committee (IRC) 

If you’ve ever spent a considerable amount of time on YouTube, you might have come across a heart-wrenching ad from the IRC. The IRC helps displaced people within countries in crisis. Provisions in crisis areas include shelter, cash assistance, food and water. Programs elevating long-term growth in-country include access to education, minority empowerment (working on policy with local governments), health programs treating preventable diseases and ensuring access to reproductive health. 

In situations like Ukraine where safety is not guaranteed, many find themselves leaving their home-countries entirely. IRC offers resettlement services helping refugees in their transition to the United States, where they receive assistance in a variety of areas including medical, housing, education, legal services, employment and more. 

World Relief

World Relief is a Christian organization founded in 1940 to provide recovery aid after World War II. Since then, World Relief has joined President Kennedy’s “Food for Peace” committee, responded to earthquake disaster areas, and provided aid to thousands of refugees. As of 2015, World Relief has worked in over 100 countries, has partnered with 6,000 churches, and has recruited over 95,000 volunteers. 

Much like the IRC, there are departments supporting refugees including immigration services, youth support, case management, education, and employment.

Refugees International 

Refugees International is an advocacy group founded in 1979 in response to the crises in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Their main functions are to “investigate displacement crises, create policy solutions and advocate for change”. Their Refugee Advocacy Lab dedicates resources to working with US representatives on creating supportive policies for refugees among other efforts.  The four main issues this organization focuses on is climate displacement, Covid-19, access to employment, and minority empowerment in over 40 countries. 

If you are wondering about NGO work and want to see if this work is for you? World Relief, Refugees International and IRC all offer internships available to undergraduates and graduates. Learn more about these organizations by clicking on their websites posted below:

https://www.refugeesinternational.org/

https://www.rescue.org/

https://worldrelief.org/

Career Spotlight: Environmental Organizations

If asked to name a concern of global importance, many Lawrence students would cite the changing climate and its impact on the environment. Some go so far as to declare environmental justice as their desired career path. In fact, some past Lawrentians have already done so, choosing to turn their passion for the improving the environment into a career, by working for an environmental organization. 

While environmental organizations may occasionally be a private company or corporation, most of the time, such entities are part of local, state or federal government, or they may be a non-governmental organization (NGO), or an intergovernmental organization.  In addition to climate change, other environmental issues they focus on include pollution, waste, resource depletion and human overpopulation.

In the United States, the primary federal government agencies tasked with serving and protecting the environment include the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.  Most states have their own versions of some of these agencies as well. 

The list of NGO’s in the United States and around the world committed to environmental protection is too long to list, but you have likely heard of many of the larger ones, including the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Greenpeace

All of these government agencies and NGO’s hire interns, so if you are looking for a place to get hands-on experience in protecting the environment and fighting climate change, consider a summer internship for such an agency or organization.  Please note that government agencies hire their summer interns very early, so you should start looking as early as this fall for internships in the summer of 2023.

Another great way to get experience in this area is by joining one of the many Lawrence environmental clubs and organizations, some of which are Greenfire, the Lawrence University Environmental Organization, the LUCC Sustainability Committee and the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG)

Tips for Talking About Your Volunteer and Service Experience

Tip 1: Think about it like any other job

The mindset that most people get tripped up on while thinking about their volunteer experience is “Well, I didn’t get paid for it so it doesn’t matter”. Because of this they end up not talking about the enriching experiences they had while volunteering, which is a really big misconception! To get out of this mindset we recommend thinking and talking about your volunteer experience as any job. For example, if you were talking about a part-time retail job you once worked at you may mention in an interview “My experience in retail allowed me to gain organization and collaboration skills”.You could say almost the exact same things for volunteer experience as well! Let’s say you are a volunteer at Riverview Gardens here in Appleton. You work with others to winterize gardens and take inventory of plants. If you wanted to talk about your volunteer experience while at Riverview Gardens you could say, “My experience at Riverview Gardens allowed me to gain organization and collaboration skills.” Thinking about your volunteer experience like your job experience makes it easier to translate during an interview. 

Tip 2: Relate your volunteer and service experience to your career field

If you happened to volunteer in the particular career field you would like to end up in, you’re in luck! You can use this experience as a core interview response for, most likely, quite a few questions. If you are planning on pursuing a career in theatre arts, it might be helpful to mention your volunteer experience at a non-profit theatre, traveling theatre, etc. For example, employers may ask you the question “What drew you to apply for this position?” In terms of the theatre arts example, you can answer “I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in theatre, however, my experience volunteering at Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee really solidified my motives…” Using your passion as a segway into talking about an experience is very moving for the employer and shows how dedicated you would be to the position that you are applying to. 

Tip 3: Describe the success you had 

Even though sometimes we are plagued with dreaded questions like “Tell me about a time you failed” in an interview, employers really do like to hear about your successes as well. If during your volunteer or service experience you had a leadership position, headed a project, or even just got positive reinforcement from colleagues, feel free to mention this during your interview. An example of this is when an employer asks you a question about your collaboration skills, such as “Tell me about a time you worked as a group, how did it turn out?” A possible start to your answer could be, “During my time with Habitat for Humanity I was a group leader for the volunteers…” This answer would show how your volunteer experience put you in a leadership position and how you handled that position.

Idealist.org Review for #ECE Community

Idealist.org is great for students who may not have their teaching certification yet, looking for non-profit work or mission-driven experiences. In the #ECE Community, you can find relevant education and non-profit work easily through their search engine, and many of their opportunities are entry-level! Not only do they have jobs and internships but they also have relevant volunteer and graduate programs listed. This site is definitely a good catch-all source for those looking for relevant ECE experience. Thankfully, the site is also well organized.

Their site is very easy to navigate, especially for students who are used to searching on Handshake. You just type in keywords for the field you are interested in, the area you are looking around, and then select if you are looking for “Jobs”, “Internships”, “Volunteer”, “Organizations” “Mutual Aid Groups” or “Grad Programs. There are also many other filters that can be used to apply to your search, such as “Job Function”, “Issue Areas”, “Education Level” and so much more! You can really curate the search to exactly what you are looking for, which is very helpful in narrowing down the thousands of search results. Once you find an opportunity you are interested in, then you can apply directly on their site, or it will direct you to the company site where you can apply. Depending on your specific field of interest, for those in the ECE Community, we suggest using keywords such as “education”, “teaching”, “non-profit”, “social”, “fundraising” and “giving” to help kick-start your search. 

Idealist.org also has many resources listed on the bottom of its website. They have career resources and also grad resources for applying to grad school. They have hundreds of articles aimed at helping you find the perfect opportunity to apply to next!

Overall, Idealist.org is a very useful tool for searching for jobs, internships, and other opportunities. Those in the ECE community should definitely check out what Idealist has to offer since they have thousands of opportunities and also many resources for applying and maintaining your opportunity. 

Social Marketing

Jonathan Hogan

If you’re a humanities major, there’s a good chance that you’ve been told that your excellent writing and analytical skills could allow you to go into marketing.  You’ve probably rolled your eyes at this idea—why sell your soul to the optimization of an economic system that so obviously perpetuates terrible injustices?  But before you write off marketing forever, read this article on social marketing, a type of marketing typically sponsored by NGOs or governments and used for the betterment of society.

Social marketing is perhaps best explained through examples, and one of the best comes from Wisconsin’s own UW Madison. In 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, UW Madison, and a handful of NGOs teamed up to advertise healthy eating. They played off of Wisconsin residents’ love of their sports teams to create the ads visible in this article (Henschen). Further examples of social marketing can be found in the now ubiquitous “click it or ticket” campaign, and a water rationing campaign led in Jordan, in which businesses were entered into a lottery after installing water-conserving valves in their buildings to incentivize their installation and raise awareness about their effects (About Us | The NSMC).

If this article has piqued your interest, you might be wondering: how does one learn more about social marketing? A good place to start is The National Social Marketing Centre (link), an NGO dedicated to social marketing that has its origins in the innovative British Department of Health. The National Social Marketing Centre appears to be the home for social marketing, at least as it pertains to public health, and can serve to give you an even deeper understanding of social marketing as an industry. For a job in social marketing, the best places to look are state and federal government platforms such as USAJOBS. Simply entering the term “marketing” will yield plenty of results. The one caveat to this approach is that strong knowledge of marketing is typically required for these jobs. To be a competitive applicant, you’ll likely need an educational or experiential background in marketing. While this experience may indeed come from an entry-level social marketing position, it will most likely come from a Master’s in marketing, or experience at a less mission-oriented marketing position. Hopefully, however, the appeal of social marketing as an industry that both requires writing and analytical skills, and sees marketers work for the betterment of society, is enough to consider spending a few years in general marketing.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

About Us | The NSMC. https://www.thensmc.com/about-us. Accessed 12 Oct. 2021.

Henschen, Holly. “FoodWIse’s FNV Campaign Wins International Social Marketing Award.” University of Wisconsin-Madison, 10 July 2018, https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/news/2018/07/10/foodwises-fnv-campaign-wins-international-national-centre-for-social-marketing-award/.