How Civic Programs Can Boost Your Career Options

The Power Play of Power Plays: How Civic Programs Can Boost Your Career Options

(Image: Thinkstock)
(Image: Thinkstock)

This month, presents Month of the Man, where we bring you career features tailored for male leaders of color all over the world.

According to a report by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, African-American males are underperforming and underrepresented in colleges across the country. And with education being a major part of successful attainment of employment, this leaves many black men at a disadvantage. However, there are other avenues for career growth. Consider participating in service-based programs to explore non-traditional options and benefits.

Jeffery Richardson (@JeffreynDC), has worked hard over the years as a champion for service-based programs such as AmericaCorps. Richardson serves as executive director of Serve DC in the nation’s capital, and has spent 10 years working with community-based organizations, schools, and national advocacy groups.

As a Howard University School of Social Work graduate, 34-year-old Richardson has an inherent passion for encouraging young African-Americans to reap the benefits of civic-oriented programs. “As an African-American, I think it is important for black young professionals to take advantage of the opportunity service programs present not just for themselves, but for our communities,” Richardson says. “It is a powerful thing to see black men and women serving in black communities.”

Richardson shares the following non-traditional career benefits that service programs can offer men of color:

Benefit 1: You can have a direct pathway to corporate careers by gaining access to successful leaders across sectors.

In many instances, individuals with service experience are able to utilize their network to break down barriers to future career opportunities. Increasingly, many employers within the private sector are recognizing the impact of service programs. Some companies are actually investing time, talent, and capital to forge strong partnerships with such programs.  To this end, active members who fully maximize their service year(s) can develop a cadre of corporate professionals who will stand with them and validate their skills, talents, and vision that they bring to their work.

Benefit 2: You can establish a professional brand as a team player who cares and is committed to being a leader.

Another career benefit is being viewed as someone who is not only a team player, but as someone who cares. Furthermore, young service program members are typically seen as emerging leaders who are committed to their work, success, and the overall well-being of our country.

Benefit 3: You will land in a professional pipeline for job and award nominations.

As you should know by now, many jobs and career recognition awards are issued to individuals based on association. Service programs often have large networks in which high-profiled professionals rely on to fill position vacancies or honor talented young professionals with awards. This is particularly a strong benefit for African-Americans males, given the fact that they are often underrepresented and not fully recognized for their achievements.

Antoine Moss, Ph.D., (@2PositiveTweets) is a nationally recognized resource on internships, early career achievement, leadership and motivation. CEO and founder of CEO Style Consulting L.L.C., Moss empowers professionals and organizations to reach their full potential, and serves as speaker, workshop instructor and consultant. The author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, Moss has been a featured expert on outlets including Fox 8 TV News and George Fraser’s 2011 Power Networking Conference.