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Giving back to the everyday heroes who inspire you

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Posted: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:42 am, Tue May 13, 2014.

(BPT) - When you think of public servants or people who do heroic jobs, do you picture police officers, firefighters and soldiers? While all those people selflessly serve the public, they’re not the only everyday heroes whose jobs contribute to the greater good. The field of public service is broad, encompassing teachers, health care workers, law enforcement professionals and social workers.

Demand is high for caring, trained professionals to fill a growing number of jobs in public service fields. In fact, job opportunities are expected to grow 22 percent for social and human service assistants, 7 percent for firefighters, 6 percent for high school teachers and 5 percent for police officers and detectives, across the nation by 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Some of the professionals to fill those jobs will come directly from colleges like Kaplan University, where first-time students will pursue coursework designed to specifically prepare them for public service careers. Others will be career changers, like Arthur Chapel and Melissa Bowermaster, who entered public service after enduring personal challenges and were inspired by the caring help of other public servants.

“I was in a bad place, and someone helped me,” says Arthur Chapel, who successfully completed substance-abuse treatment and then decided to change careers to become a counselor. “Now I give back by helping others who need it. I have the satisfying career I always wanted and I get up every day eager to go to work because I know I’m helping people who need it.”

“Working in law enforcement, I saw every day the caring of the human services people I came into contact with,” says Melissa Bowermaster, executive director of Citrus County Child Advocacy Center in Florida. Her interaction with these professionals, especially those who worked with children, inspired her to return to school to pursue a human services degree. After graduating from Kaplan University with a bachelor’s degree of science in human services, Bowermaster went to work advocating for children in need in Citrus County.

Chapel and Bowermaster aren’t alone in finding inspiration from the everyday heroism of public servants. Each day, these professionals have a positive effect on thousands of people across the country. In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, May 4 to 10, Kaplan University is inviting the public to salute the everyday heroes in their lives.

Post a photo and story of your everyday hero – police officer, firefighter, EMS, early childhood teacher, social worker or other – using the tag #PublicServiceStars through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+, and then register at the #PublicServiceStars Wall of Heroes. As a thanks for submitting your story, you’ll have the chance to make a difference in the lives of others. Kaplan University will make a $500 donation to the favorite charitable cause of one lucky participant.

To learn more about public service career opportunities, visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu or the Center for Public Service website.

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