About the Careers for the Common Good Program

The Careers for the Common Good program is a multi-faceted program designed to inform, inspire, and support Wesleyan students who are interested in pursuing careers in public service, and is coordinated in partnership by the Career Resource Center and the Center for Community Partnerships.  The CRC and the CCP believe that Wesleyan students have unique potential to make major contributions to the common good because of their combined talents, strong personal convictions, and keen awareness of social issues.   By dedicating their careers and lives to public service, Wesleyan students will have a measurable impact on the world.  The CCG is a collaborative effort between staff and students comprising panel discussions with alumni, skill-building workshops, networking events, the Service Careers Fellowship, and overall support that help launch a student into public service.

Careers for the common good are broadly defined as careers that occur within the nonprofit and government sectors, and may include work in education, health, and social service.

Traditionally, sectors of the economy have been broken down into three: the Private Sector (for-profit organizations, sometimes referred to as the Business Sector); the Public Sector (government); and the Nonprofit Sector, comprised of all those organizations, including Universities, that are officially recognized by the IRS as not existing primarily to earn a profit, but to fulfill a mission or other stated purpose.  Currently, the trend is to combine the Public Service Sector and the Nonprofit Sector under the mantle of Public Service.

A helpful distinction to keep in mind is that within the organizational world of public service, a nonprofit organization may be referred to as a private NPO (nonprofit organization), as opposed to a government agency.

When a person chooses to pursue a career for the common good, (i.e., in public service), she is essentially choosing to work to make the world a better place; to improve society; to work for a cause; to help others, as opposed to working in order to reach financial goals and maximize profit.

It should be noted that there is nothing morally wrong with working for financial gain and, increasingly, the values of public service, civic engagement, and the attitude of SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – that of considering others when conducting our business and personal affairs – are being espoused and embraced in the Private Sector.

Because of this growing awareness of the need for, and acceptance of, social responsibility, we suggest that you take a broad view of the economy and world of work when you consider your career options.  The values of social responsibility are applicable anywhere, and when applied, benefit us all.  Manufacturing and journalism are just two examples of work environments where a sense of social responsibility is applicable and needed.