"Service years can be a powerful pathway for youth to gain skills, improve their community, and advance their careers. Imagine how we could transform San Jose with a renewed culture of service – one in which we all embrace our role as stewards for our neighborhoods… our youth… our earth…”
-San Jose, CA Mayor Sam Liccardo
National service is a powerful tool for communities to address local needs. Service Year Alliance has been working closely with ten communities, taking a hands-on approach to helping them craft strategies and create the conditions to scale national service locally.
These communities are proving that strategic and intentional growth of service years is possible and necessary for the future of our youth, our communities, and our nation.
Our approach to bridge innovations across interrelated systems of youth development, workforce development, education, etc. helps communities create the conditions for a cultural shift that encourages all young people to do a year of service in support of community change.
Service years are a highly effective form of community development. They offer invaluable on-the-job training and experience, and in some cases, even workplace credentials that boost economic and workforce development. They’re a powerful tool in a community’s toolbox for addressing local needs like workforce development, educational advancements, economic growth and prosperity, and disaster preparedness and recovery.
Every community can create its own service year program to address local needs. The “Creating a Service Year Program” Handbook provides a guideline for starting a service year program. An effective service year has the potential for substantial impact on three fronts — the host organization’s capacity for achieving its mission, the community in which service is performed, and the individual who completes the service.
Some communities are taking a more ambitious approach, going beyond a single program and scaling service year opportunities to complement other community-wide initiatives. We’re looking for a handful of communities to become pilot sites for this approach. Check back soon for more information about this exciting initiative.
The Expanding Service Years in States Toolkit is a joint effort between Service Year Alliance, America’s Service Commissions and the Corporation for National and Community Service. This toolkit is designed to highlight ways in which governors, state legislators, and other elected officials can embrace service as a strategy to address the needs of their communities. It outlines ways in which governors and other elected officials have leveraged federal as well as state, local, and private resources to expand full-time service opportunities, known as service years. We hope this toolkit will serve as an inspiration and guide for state leaders to to expand service opportunities through diverse funding sources to meet pressing economic and social needs.