Read of the Day: “Poor People More Likely to Get a Job If They Work for Free First”
6:15 pm, June 24th | by Weiyu Li
It is a truth universally acknowledged (although it may not be true) that internships are an indispensable step towards getting a job. In today’s Read of the Day, Erika Eichelberger, reporting fellow at Mother Jones, alleges that another form of unpaid labor — volunteer work — can largely increase jobless Americans’ chances of finding work.
The current share of the American population with a job is still far below what it was before the recession, stagnating at a level not seen since the 1980s. And the jobs that have been regained since 2008 have overwhelmingly been low-wage. But now there’s good news for unskilled unemployed people who are interested in getting one of those low-wage jobs—working for free can help them eventually land a paid gig.
A new study to be released Tuesday by a federal agency called the Corporation for National and Community Service found that jobless Americans can increase their chances of finding work by 27 percent if they volunteer first. People without a high school diploma and people in rural areas can increase their chances by more than 50 percent, the Washington Post reports.
Volunteering is useful for people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, Christopher Spera, the lead author of the study, explained to the Post, because they don’t have the same opportunities as better-off Americans: “Folks with lower levels of education tend not to have the networks and social capital enjoyed by folks with higher levels of education,” he says. Here’s the Post on how volunteering can help:
“The report builds on other research that has found that volunteering helps people learn skills, be presented with leadership opportunities, enhance their résumés and—perhaps most crucially—develop a network of contacts that can help them find work…”
To read the article in full, click here.