Obama Orders Agencies to Recruit Volunteers

Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Obama is calling on federal agencies to use volunteers to accomplish their tasks as part of a larger effort to boost community service throughout the country.

The White House issued an executive order Friday -- Expanding National Service through Partnerships to Advance Government Priorities -- to establish a task force charged with improving national service and volunteering. The initiative seeks to align the American people’s commitment to service with the missions of federal agencies.

Creating these partnerships will “utilize the American spirit of service to improve lives and communities, expand economic and educational opportunities, enhance agencies' capacity to achieve their missions, efficiently use tax dollars [and] help individuals develop skills that will enable them to prepare for long-term careers.”

Representatives from all Cabinet-level agencies, as well as various other federal entities, will coordinate with the Corporation for National and Community Service to identify ways to effectively organize volunteer opportunities across federal government. The task force will develop public-private partnerships to expand national service.

The memo also contains a provision to recruit individuals committed to volunteering to join the civil service.

“In order to provide national service participants a means to pursue additional opportunities to continue their public service through career civilian service, the Office of Personnel Management shall, within 120 days of the date of this memorandum, issue guidance to agencies on developing and improving federal recruitment strategies for participants in national service,” the memo states.

Agencies are tasked with determining how to cultivate skills that easily translate into federal positions that ultimately “can serve as a pipeline” to federal employment.

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