Early Career, Enduring Impact: Jewish Campus Service Corps Alumni and Career Development

Nicole Samuel and Eliana Chapman

March 2020JCSC report

In the years between 1994 and 2008, Hillel International’s Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellowship (JCSC) brought hundreds of recent graduates to college campuses to engage uninvolved or under-involved students in Jewish life. The fellowship introduced student engagement methods that have become standard practice in Hillel today, including individual meetings and targeted programming for different interest groups. More than 10 years after the fellowship’s final cohort, JCSC is still one of Hillel International’s best-known efforts for reaching students outside the traditional boundaries of Jewish life on campus.

This research is the first systematic study of JCSC alumni and explores the Fellowship’s long-term impact. The results illuminate how, why, and when participants in an early career fellowship program make decisions about career, including employment in the Jewish nonprofit sector. 

The significant number of JCSC alumni who have worked as Jewish professionals at some point in their careers indicates both the value of an early career experience and the potential influence of JCSC on the Jewish nonprofit sector. Lessons from JCSC about the career trajectories of young professionals who began their work lives in a Hillel early career development initiative are instructive for Hillel and the Jewish community.

Read the report

Read the executive summary

Key findings include:

  • Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents have positive feelings about their JCSC experience.
  • A majority of JCSC alumni report that the Fellowship has had a positive impact on their professional effectiveness (81%), career path (79%), involvement in the Jewish community (74%), and life decisions (73%).
  • Of the alumni who have consistently employed in the same sector since JCSC, 55% work in the Jewish nonprofit sector.
  • In terms of current employment, a plurality of JCSC alumni are working in the Jewish nonprofit sector (37%). The next largest group are employed in the for-profit sector (30%), followed by those alumni working in the nonsectarian nonprofit (18%) and public sectors (11%).
  • Connections to Hillel have endured since JCSC for 46% of alumni. These alumni have been involved with Hillel as donors, professionals, lay leaders, or in another capacity.
  • Most JCSC alumni have not been extensively involved as lay leaders since the Fellowship. However, those alumni who took on lay leadership roles to a greater extent were more likely to do so in the Jewish community (25%) compared to the general community (12%).
  • Most JCSC alumni have earned at least one graduate degree (82%).