(BPT) - What jobs come to mind when you think of public service professions? Police officers, firefighters and community service advocates are likely responses. And you are correct; those are all admirable public service careers, but there's so much more than that. There are many facets within the public service field that help keep our communities and cities thriving.
'Public service professionals are part of what many people call the 'helping professions,'' says Dr. Karla Drenner, Kaplan University College of Social and Behavioral Sciences faculty member. 'These are the people that keep towns safe and defend our country abroad. They maintain the health and happiness of American citizens while pushing innovation and infrastructure to new heights. They ensure a bright future for us all.'
Do you think you might be interested in working to help others and impact communities? Many people are drawn to public services because they want to be involved with something bigger than themselves. Fortunately, there's a variety of jobs to suit every personality, with work available in fields like human services, psychology, public safety and public administration.
Jeh Johnson, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, is a stellar example. He has one of the most important public safety jobs in the nation: protecting the lives of the American people. Johnson's career started in law and included several stints in public service, including serving as General Counsel for the Department of Defense. There, he paved the way for the reversal of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in 2010.
Another public service official painting a bright future for all is Tammy Baldwin, United States Senator for Wisconsin. Baldwin shattered the state's glass ceiling when she was elected as its first female member of Congress, and she also became the nation's first openly gay member elected to the Senate. Throughout her careers, she has been a strong advocate for fairness, equality and opportunity.
Working in the government at any level provides an opportunity to make a difference through public service. But helping profession opportunities aren't limited to the public sector. Another community steward who is working for real change is Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America, a nonprofit with a mission to feed all those in need of food in the U.S.
Considering nearly 16 million children face hunger, Aiken's efforts are making a real difference for kids across the country. His leadership and the work of Feeding America's network of community food banks serve an estimated 12 million or more children who would otherwise go hungry.
Other public service leaders are making a change for those who deal with mental health struggles. Clarissa Black, founder of Pets for Vets, is a great example. After witnessing the powerful role therapy dogs played in recovery for veterans and soldiers, she founded her organization in order to make an impact. Her passion for working with animals and her own experience with PTSD allow her to help others heal physical and emotional wounds.
If you want a satisfying career in which you can make a real change like these public service leaders, Kaplan University's Center for Public Service offers professional development and career advancement resources that can help prepare those who want to transition into the helping professions. Visit ShineOnPublicService.KaplanU.edu to explore a special series of video and content recognizing these leaders in public service just in time for several national awareness dates this month, including Public Service Recognition Week, International Firefighters' Day and Police Week. You can also recognize those you see as key figures in public service today on social media with the hashtag #ShineOnPublicService.