Public Service as a Profession (A-2)


Public Service as a Profession (A-2)


"Careers focused on lifting up our communities – whether it's helping transform troubled schools or creating after-school programs or training workers for green jobs. These careers are not always obvious, but today they are necessary."

- Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States

Public service embodies the ethical principles of the common good, service to others and social equity. Public service is important because the essential components of our society are largely carried out in the public sphere. For example, public service is rendered in: public education, public health, justice and security, environmental protection, museums and the arts. Public service attracts a special kind of individual and is often based on a sense of duty or an intense inner commitment to a cause that extends beyond the pressures of the moment. Those who work in public service institutions achieve great internal satisfaction by making a contribution to a society as opposed to a commitment to achieving only personal goals. They enter public service out of a desire to serve the public interest and to link themselves to the larger community.

The parameters of public service continue to change and expand in order to serve the diverse needs of growing populations, and its values framework is becoming more complex as it embraces ideas from multidisciplinary approaches. To meet the needs of our communities, education, training and professional practice in public service related fields should accommodate these developments.

Government and nonprofit organizations offer opportunities for building careers in public service. Government positions range from direct service providers to commissioners and cabinets secretaries. Typical employers include counties, townships, school districts, courts, legislative agencies, congressional offices and federal departments. Nonprofit positions range from hands-on functions to directors and officers. Typically employers include nonprofit agencies, foundations, charitable organizations, special interest groups, libraries, museums, historic sites, research organizations and educational institutions.

In the additional resources section to the right is an overview of a collection of public service narratives, "Ask me why I care," under "Tell your story." They were curated by the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Public Affairs and Community Service in a Public Service Stories Project. Project Co-Directors are Dr. Mary Hamilton and Ms. Rita Paskowitz.

The collection is presented in four groups and each group is accessible in the related VMPS galleries. Each group includes a set of suggested assignments for students. Further details are provided in the Public Service Stories exhibit, which can be opened below in this gallery.

Some of the exhibits in this area contain oaths with which public servants pledge to serve their fellow citizens.

Collection Items

Federal Judiciary Oaths
"I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as…

Athenian Oath at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs Foyer
"We will ever strive for the ideals and sacred things of the city, both alone and with many; We will unceasingly seek to quicken the sense of public duty; We will revere and obey the city’s laws; We will transmit this city not only not less, but…

NY Oath of Office
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ............, according to the best of my…

Oath of Enlistment
"I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of…

Oath of the Young Men of Athens
"I will not disgrace these sacred arms, nor ever desert a comrade in the ranks. I will guard the Temples and the Centers of Civic Life, and uphold the ideals of my Country, both alone and in concert with others. I will at all times obey the…

Stennis Student Congress
"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental…

Public Service Stories: Honoring People Who Make a Difference
The “Ask Me Why I Care” project was co-directed by Dr. Mary Hamilton and Ms. Rita Paskowitz and funded by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service, University of Nebraska, Omaha (UNO). The project involved faculty of the University of…

Parks and Recreation: National Trails Awards
The National Trails Awards is one way American Trails Leaving New York State Parks recognizes the exemplary people across the landscape of America who are working to create a national system of trails to meet the recreation, health, and travel needs…

National Waste & Recycling Association Awards for Sanitation Workers
Driver of the Year Award This program honors those drivers who operate their trucks in a safe and responsible manner, have outstanding performance records, and whose contributions have enhanced the overall safety and image of the solid waste…

Firefighting: Benjamin Franklin Fire Service Award for Valor
The award recognizes firefighters around the world for their expert training, leadership, heroic actions and safe practices. Named after Benjamin Franklin, the nation’s first fire chief, it is the highest honor bestowed by the International…
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