In an effort to address a year-long application process and declines in applications, the Peace Corps is revising its application process, making it shorter, cutting time to placement, and giving applicants choice over country of service.
From the Washington Post:
Recognizing that the organization envisioned by President John F. Kennedy could be endangered, its leaders are scheduled to announce Tuesday a series of steps to make it more attractive, including allowing candidates to choose the country where they want to serve, shortening the year-long application period, and recruiting more minorities and young people.
“The Peace Corps is a great brand, but we really needed to bring it into the 21st century,” Carrie Hessler-Radelet, director of the organization, said ahead of the announcement. “This is the most extensive reform effort our agency has ever undertaken.”
Here are some additional statistics from the article on the number of applications and demographics.
In the past nine months, more than 30,000 potential candidates did not complete their applications, according to the Peace Corps. The number of candidates who have finished them has dropped from a peak of 15,384 in fiscal 2009 to 10,118 in fiscal 2013, a decline of 34 percent. The agency’s recruiting suffered setbacks after several volunteers came forward with harrowing accounts of sexual assaults in their host countries.
Hessler-Radelet said she hopes the improvements will encourage more people to apply and boost the agency’s number of volunteers, especially among minorities. Of the 7,200 volunteers currently deployed, whites make up 76 percent; blacks, 6 percent; Hispanics, 9 percent; and Asians, 5 percent.
A Newsweek spoke to the changes: