A Peace Corps volunteer leads kids in an exercise in Ecuador on Sept. 18, 2013.
The Peace Corps announced big changes to its application process Tuesday, with an emphasis on making it simpler and faster.
Applicants can now select the country in which they want to serve, as well as specific programs of interest. The application is now significantly shorter, and can be completed within an hour, according to a statement from the Peace Corps, a United States government agency that sends volunteers to developing countries.
"What used to be more than 60 printed pages that took more than eight hours to complete is now a short online application that focuses solely but rigorously on the most relevant information to help the agency select the best candidates," the Corps said.
U.S. Congress passed the Peace Corps Act in 1961, "to promote world peace and friendship ... to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower." Since then, more than 215,000 Americans have served in 139 countries around the world.
“More than 50 years after its founding, the Peace Corps is revitalizing its recruitment and outreach to field a volunteer force that represents the best and brightest the country has to offer,” Peace Corps director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “A modernized, flexible application and placement system will help Peace Corps recruit Americans who are not just interested in imagining a better world, but rolling up their sleeves and doing something about it.”
A video released Tuesday features U.S. President Barack Obama touting the virtues of the program.
The Corps has focused in recent years on "revitalizing recruitment" for its program, which saw more popular recognition in previous decades than at present.
"By investing additional resources to support these proposed changes in the application process, and increasing the diversity of applicants, the Peace Corps will be better able to meet the requests of host countries with a Volunteer force that reflects the American population," the agency said in its budgetary justification report for Congress.
In 2013, the Corps added the ability to check the status of applications online.
"The new application process is intended to increase the number of applicants and ensure that the Peace Corps is the service opportunity of choice for U.S. citizens interested in international service," the report added.
Tags: GOVERNMENT, LIFESTYLE, PEACE CORPS, SOCIAL GOOD, TRAVEL, TRAVEL & LEISURE, U.S.