City to give hiring preferences to AmeriCorps members

If you're an AmeriCorps or Peace Corps alumnus, the City of Philadelphia is looking to hire you.

Starting this month, the city will award up to five points on its civil service exam for alumni of national service programs.

Nutter made the announcement along with Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National & Community Service, a federal agency which oversees AmeriCorps.

“These individuals, through their service, create critical thinking skills, demonstrate leadership qualities, responsibility and they become the kind of invaluable workers that any employer would want,” Nutter said.

Philadelphia is the first municipal employer to announce a concrete incentive like civil service points as part of a partnership with the National & Community Service agency. Other cities, nonprofits and businesses have become official Employers of National Service by agreeing to include a box for service experience descriptions on employment applications or by giving interview preferences to former volunteers.

“We have a list of different ways to certify an employer and they might even come up with new ideas we haven’t thought of yet,” Spencer said. She said at some companies being an official employer is as simple as a CEO writing a letter to hiring managers encouraging them to give extra consideration to AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers.

Philadelphia has 3,051 AmeriCorps members currently serving at 150 sites. Statewide 7,900 people have served in the Peace Corps.

Philadelphia also awards civil service points to veterans, as mandated by state law.

At Monday’s news conference, current and past corps members spoke about their experiences. Carlton Williams, Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections is an AmeriCorps alumnus as is Samantha Phillips, Director of Emergency Management.

AmeriCorps and Peace Corps members typically live and work on extremely tight budgets with small salary stipends.

Comcast and Septa announced Monday they would join the City and more than 150 employers nationwide in giving preferential consideration to the alumni.

SEPTA general manager Joe Casey said the agency would look to create employment opportunities specifically for corps members. “We look forward to your applications,” he said.

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