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Hiring Residents: Community Building as Career Building

Hiring Residents: Community Building as Career Building

Social service non-profits form to serve particular populations but can miss the most direct forms of addressing the need they exist to meet. For instance, it took many years for advocates for people experiencing homelessness to convince the rest of us that what people that are homeless need is a home. Similarly, people that are hungry need food, and people living in poverty need money. So while there are a myriad of contributing factors to each of these issues, those who address them professionally should track, on some level, their contribution to the immediate need.

POLIS’ Community Building as Career Building program directly involves us in the economic aspect of our work. We incentivize community engagement by teaching people community-building skills, employing them part-time to utilize those skills, and helping them transfer those skills to advancement in their career aspirations.


We have identified ten key dispositions for community building and aligned them to specific tasks and career paths. Deploying this approach has led to the hiring of residents to do nearly every aspect of the community work and contextualizing this work in the framework of community building and career building. The average amount of time a resident is involved has been about four months and average hourly rate has been over 16 dollars.


We utilize this approach to deepen resident skill sets and leadership capacity. With stronger capacity, residents will be better equipped to steer partnerships toward what is most beneficial to the community.

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