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Over the past several years, practitioners and academics have expressed concern about the deteriorating morale and effectiveness of the federal civil service, given its aging workforce and the competition with the private sector for human capital. Recruiting qualified public servants is complicated by the negative perception of government. Attacks by politicians of all sides have contributed to a negative stereotype of the American civil service. Therefore, finding new ways to recruit and retain the best-qualified young graduates has become critical. This paper reports on an untapped resource – volunteers, explores the youth volunteer activity that occurs in the federal government, and poses a relationship between volunteers and public service. We find that college volunteers in federal government are an underutilized supply of well-qualified future public servants. The intangible benefit that volunteers generate for government will also be discussed. The goal is to demonstrate how volunteers are beyond government partners.


This is the author's manuscript of an article originally published in the International Journal of Volunteer Administration.



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