How can students get involved in advocacy, outreach and community service?

Student interest in activism and advocacy is at an all time high, with movements such as Black Lives Matter, the Me Too movement, and LGBTQ + receiving significant support on college and university campuses. Closely aligned with the drive to create change, graduate programs in public administration, advocacy, and social services have become more popular than ever. And that’s a good thing for everyone. More people interested in studying social protection and public policy issues mean more professionals with the knowledge and skills to build stronger and more equitable local, national and even global communities. This suggests that we can truly ‘build back better’.

If you are interested in joining this noble cause and improving the lives of others, here is a look at what working in advocacy, outreach and community service looks like. We’ll take a look at what it takes to become a political leader, how the future of advocacy work may unfold, and the opportunities you can access at a school offering world-class public administration and politics courses for students. postgraduate.

What are advocacy, outreach and community service?

Advocacy and community services help people access the support they need to live better and safer lives. Community service advocates and workers are often the bridge between their clients and the organization or institution providing public services. It is the lawyer’s job to ensure that their clients – ordinary people whose needs are not yet met by the system – are treated fairly and have full access to all eligible services. Other advocates work in a managerial capacity to guide public policy and seek ways to improve services.

Why working in advocacy is important

If you are the type of person who wants to make a direct impact, then a career in advocacy or community service is a perfect choice. You can do this individually by working as a victim advocate or child protection specialist. However, if you’d rather get the big picture and want to shape better public policy, you’ll love working for nonprofits like the Institute for Community Health (ICH).

The ICH supports healthcare facilities, government agencies and community organizations in improving and maximizing services. He recently collaborated with the Consumer Voices for Innovation program to combat the health and social impacts of COVID-19. By identifying and assessing the problems caused by the pandemic, the ICH was able to push through new policies, which increased the number of community health workers and extended a moratorium on rents for those who had lost income due to blockages.

The civil servant of the 21st century

The nature of public service will always require people skills, such as empathy, teamwork and negotiation. However, rapid innovation and new technologies are changing our perception of public service. And this different approach will require new types of advocates and community workers with 21st century skills.

A recent report from professional services giant Deloitte reveals that the future public service employee will be a highly skilled, tech-savvy, data-driven professional who is comfortable working remotely. The civil servants of tomorrow will no longer be linked to a single career path. Instead, these agile, highly mobile professionals will work on a series of short-term, specialist projects that have direct social impact.

A big step towards a career in advocacy or community service

Studying for a graduate degree in public policy or community development is one of the best ways to start your journey towards a rewarding and meaningful career in public service. AMPs are postgraduate degrees designed to create future leaders and policy makers. They are ideal for working professionals or graduates with the ambition to take up managerial positions in government agencies, non-profit organizations, world-renowned NGOs or transnational organizations such as the United Nations or the United Nations. World Health Organization (WHO).

An MPA qualification will also increase your initial career opportunities and earning potential. Having the MPA on your resume shows employers that you have a deep understanding of public policy issues and the ability to develop concrete solutions. The average income for an entry-level position is $ 53,000 per year, significantly more than the graduate’s average starting salary. Mid-level positions or roles as an executive director range from $ 75,000 to $ 80,000 per year.

The Carsey School of Public Policy

The Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire is a nationally recognized leading institute renowned for its programs in research, innovative policy education, and civic engagement.

Carsey prides itself on taking an evidence-based approach to public policy research, producing highly skilled graduates who are ready to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. The school uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a major touchstone. All of its programs and initiatives aim to create informed and equitable communities where every person has the chance to succeed and live meaningful lives.

The Carsey School of Public Policy offers three postgraduate degrees for those who wish to become future political leaders.

The first course is a Master in Public Policy (MPP). This 16-month postgraduate program will teach you all the skills you need to drive real change while addressing the challenges of contemporary policymaking. You will learn to identify root causes, develop transformative and sustainable solutions, and strategically implement your plans locally, nationally or globally.

The Master in Public Policy allows you to create a personalized degree based on your interests, skills and career goals. You will also be able to meet with key decision makers from Congress, government and advocacy agencies. And you can develop your practical skills and professional networks through the internship opportunities and flagship projects of the program.

Upon graduation, you will be fully qualified to work as a policy advocate, community outreach partner, government agency officer, or communications officer. The training also lays the foundations for a career as an elected official.

The second Masters is Carsey’s online Masters in Community Development (MCD) program. Offering a flexible learning experience, this innovative, fully-distance 14-month program is aimed at working professionals who want to take their career to the next level.

All modules are led and taught by experienced practitioners in economics, finance, organizational management, health and safety, and sustainable development. And even if you study online, there are plenty of cooperative learning opportunities and exercises. These create a real sense of community between you and the other students in your cohort.

Through a combination of coursework and practical case studies, Carsey students learn the fundamentals of community engagement, giving you a solid understanding of sustainable and effective community development practices. You will then be able to apply your knowledge in several sectors directly related to public policy and advocacy, including housing, health, finance, business development, and local and national politics.

Specific career options for online Masters in Community Development graduates include a Business Development Officer, Community Development Manager, International Development Officer, and Policy or Social Impact Analyst.

The third is Carsey’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA), which prepares students for various careers in public and nonprofit institutions including government administrator, law enforcement professional, research analyst, coordinator. public affairs, development and fundraising officer and city manager. . Students study and network with public service professionals and faculty who bring solid analysis and best practices to learning.

The program comprises courses bringing together concepts from public policy, management, politics and law, providing students with a comprehensive and broad understanding of what it means to lead an organization – and in so doing, bring about change in society, improve the lives of citizens on a personal level and fulfill the promise of democracy.

Stephanie McNally is a student MP who is interested in how public policy and advocacy can facilitate more diverse and equitable societies. She says, “With the passions I developed during my undergraduate studies in sociology, I knew I had to find a way to use my skills to make a difference towards a more equitable future. I think a member of Parliament gives me the tools I need to work within policy approaches that better reflect the needs of a diverse population. “

Ethan Pope, national director of training at NeighborWorks America and assistant vice president of community mortgages at Regions Bank in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and current student at MCD is also concerned about equality. He wants to help more members of his community find decent and affordable housing. “My learning through the MCD program is constantly expanding my skills,” says Ethan. “It makes me a full professional with a broader knowledge base. And I can use this to effectively bridge some of the current disparities in quality housing in the community where I live.

Working in public policy and advocacy is not a job or a career. Instead, it’s a call to idealistic optimists who want to make the world a better place.

Article written in association with the Carsey School of Public Policy.

Jill E. Washington