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Peace Corps Director Announces 40-Year High in Applications

Fifty-Five Years Later Peace Corps Service as Competitive as Ever

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 14, 2015 – Today, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet announced the agency smashed a 40-year record for the number of applications received for two-year volunteer service opportunities. In Fiscal Year 2015, Peace Corps received nearly 23,000 applications from Americans who want to make a difference through service overseas, reinforcing the agency’s role as a dynamic, forward-leaning champion for international service more than half a century after its creation. The application total announced today marks a 32 percent increase over the number of applications received in Fiscal Year 2014 and the highest number of applications the agency has received since 1975.

“What these application numbers tell us is that Americans today are as passionate about service as they have ever been, and that they are clamoring for the opportunity to make sustainable change in communities around the world” Director Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s Americans, from all walks of life, are ready to put their skills to work making a difference, and when given the opportunity to make their mark on the world, they will raise their hands to serve in record numbers.”

This record-breaking number of applicants comes after the first full year that the agency’s historic application and recruitment reforms have been in place and follows on the heels of a 22-year high in applications in 2014, demonstrating a trend of increased interest in Peace Corps service. Launched in July 2014, Peace Corps’ application reforms allow applicants to choose their country of service and apply to specific programs through a shorter application that can be completed online in about one hour.

“The goal of our application reforms was to break down barriers to service for a new generation of Americans who are interested in not just imagining a better world but rolling up their sleeves and doing something about it, and the response has been astounding,” Director Hessler-Radelet said.

Director Hessler-Radelet made today’s announcement on the union steps at the University of Michigan – the same location where, 55 years ago, then-Sen. John F. Kennedy first challenged students to serve their country in the cause of peace. University of Michigan students accepted his challenge, and in March 1961 President Kennedy signed the executive order creating the Peace Corps.

Americans interested in Peace Corps service can browse opportunities by country of service, area of interest and departure date at peacecorps.gov/openings/.

About the Peace Corps:  The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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