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The Service for America Summit Highlights Service Opportunities for the Nation’s Youth

The Service for America Summit Highlights Service Opportunities for the Nation’s Youth

On Friday, June 21, Acting Director of Selective Service Joel C. Spangenberg, along with the Agency’s Chief of Staff, Saif Khan, participated in the Service for America Summit held at the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The goal of this event was to bring together leaders to advance an agenda for the promotion of military, national, and public service.

President Joe Biden provided a letter to recognize the significance of the gathering. He concluded the letter by stating, “As you gather for the Service for America Summit, I want to thank you for your commitment to making sure our democracy endures. You remind us that there is nothing beyond our capacity when we act together.”

The event, jointly organized by the Selective Service System (SSS), Department of Defense (DoD), AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and Office of Personnel Management (OPM), gathered more than 150 leaders and subject matter experts from Federal and state government agencies, as well as the non-profit and the private sectors.  It included a service leadership panel featuring Acting Director Spangenberg; Carol Spahn, Director of the Peace Corps; Michael Smith, Chief Executive Officer of AmeriCorps; Ashish Vazirani, Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at DoD; and Veronica Hinton, Associate Director for Workforce Policy and Innovation at OPM. They discussed their priorities and key actions to enhance young people’s awareness of military, national, and public service opportunities.

Acting Director Spangenberg said, “The Service for America concept, as was highlighted at the summit, will connect young adults in ways that will result in a renewed service ethos in the nation. They’ll build connections through service with others who come from many different backgrounds, working towards shared goals. Their experiences through service will have a positive impact nationwide and will inspire even more people to serve.”

Spangenberg continued, “The Selective Service System is already taking the initiative to partner with other agencies, such as AmeriCorps and DoD, and we are working to leverage our unique capabilities to highlight even more service opportunities.  We’re excited to help our partners in further strengthening our great nation.”

Additional discussions among summit participants focused on recommendations, and more, to enhance service opportunities at the Federal level, including:

  • Transitioning to nationwide automatic registration for SSS to counter the impacts of recent legislation that is making it more difficult for young men to remember to register;
  • Collaborating with government partners to expand SSS’s Alternative Service Program to strengthen readiness capabilities across the Federal government and support states and local communities if the nation were to mobilize in response to a national emergency;
  • Enhancing awareness of SSS local board member volunteer opportunities;
  • Promoting cross-service marketing, recruitment, and retention to offer candidates multiple service options to match their interests, skills, and professional and educational backgrounds;
  • Expanding civic education service-learning opportunities for America’s youth;
  • Establishing competitive living allowances for service volunteers;
  • Improving the Federal hiring process and breaking down barriers to employment;
  • Establishing a clearinghouse for Federal fellowships and scholarships; and
  • Creating a new civilian cyber security reserve to identify, stop, and respond to cyberattacks.

These initiatives align to the vision and goals of the White House Interagency Policy Committee on National Service, as well as the bipartisan National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service’s recommendations urging governmental partners to cultivate broader awareness of service and expand opportunities for more people to participate in service programs.

Mr. Spangenberg added that, “We expect to build and sustain momentum on collaborative efforts like this summit and advocate for a durable approach to promoting service. Further congressional action would accelerate these efforts, particularly as we work across government with our Federal partners.”