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Peace Corps Seeks More Experienced Applicants

April 30, 2008 10:30 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Responding to pressure to professionalize its efforts, Peace Corps has begun to look beyond youth and enthusiasm for real world know-how.

30-Second Summary

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In an effort to recruit more experienced volunteers to fill their ranks, Peace Corps has turned to the retiring generation known as Baby Boomers—defined as those born between 1946 and 1964.

Pointing specifically to HIV/AIDS campaigns in Ethiopia, Peace Corps organizers have begun to recognize that, although the program has long been known for its youthful reputation, there is often a necessity to send more experienced volunteers.

To accomplish this, Peace Corps has turned to the wealth of retiring professionals, launching a Web site specifically aimed at retirees late last year.

Currently, volunteers over the age of 50 make up about 5 percent of the organization's roughly 7,700 members worldwide. However, the government program has made it clear that the new recruiting effort has more to do with experience than age.

This effort is also meant to provide host countries with volunteers comparable to those from similar programs in England, Japan and Australia. The average age of volunteers from England’s Volunteer Services Overseas is 40, versus Peace Corps’ 27.

Since launching the wider initiative late last year, Peace Corps has seen applications for those over 50 rise 76%.

Headline Links: Peace Corps seeks experience

Background: History of the Peace Corps

Reactions: Successful recruiting efforts

Opinion & Analysis: Age counts

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