June 2013, Helene Jorgensen

It is widely believed that volunteering will improve workers’ job prospects. The logic is that volunteering offers opportunities to expand work-related experience, develop new skills, and build a network of professional contacts. For young people with little history of paid employment it can also signal that a person would be a reliable and motivated employee. In spite of these widespread views about volunteering, surprisingly little research has been done on the effect of volunteering on employment and pay in the United States. This analysis examines volunteering as a pathway to employment during a period of high unemployment, when it is reasonable to expect the beneficial effects of volunteering to be especially pronounced.

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