Volunteerism is a skill builder

4-H members and families are encouraged to volunteer as a part of career exploration.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released that the rate of volunteerism in the U.S. dropped slightly to 25.4 percent. This data is based on a supplement to the September 2013 Current Population Survey. Despite the minor decrease, the BLS data also indicates:

  • Women are more likely to volunteer than men.
  • The largest percentage of people volunteering is 35-44 year olds.
  • Married individuals are more likely to volunteer than non-married.
  • Parents with children that are under the age of 18, volunteer more than people without children.
  • The more education a person has, the higher the rate of volunteerism.

In addition to building the philanthropic spirit, volunteering can boost your job and career options by:

  • Providing the chance to learn and develop new skills.
  • Building experience for the job or career for which you aspire.
  • Providing a venue to meet people and build your network.
  • Providing an opportunity to explore a job or career of interest to see if it is really a fit for you.
  • Building self-esteem and social skills depending on the role or task.
  • Developing your values or providing an opportunity to reflect on your values and grow as a person.

Volunteering is a win-win for all! Michigan 4-H involved 20,324 adult and 6,376 teen volunteers in 2012. What a great opportunity to foster career exploration and job skills! Michigan State University Extension recommends recognizing and embracing the power of volunteerism as a tool for building skills by celebrating National Volunteer Week April 6-12, 2014.

Lesson Two of the new national 4-H curriculum Build Your Future: choices…connections…careers provides resources to help you identify volunteer experiences related to career exploration.

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