The "community" we are serving is the entire U.S. population. Through creating the U.S. Public Service Academy we would be able to create public servants from across the entire nation. The students participating in the conference will be attending from all over the country as well.
Currently, America faces a looming crisis in public service leadership. National disasters such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, along with our struggle against international terrorism, have highlighted the importance of public service and exposed our civic vulnerability. As the baby boomers retire, the statistics will only get worse:
* 44% of all federal workers will become eligible to retire over the next five years, creating a “federal brain drain” that “threatens to dramatically diminish the federal government’s effectiveness in meeting urgent public needs” (Partnership for Public Service)
* More than 2 million teachers will be needed in this decade because of teacher attrition and retirement and increased student enrollment (National Center for Education Statistics)
* More than 80% of the nation’s 17,000 law enforcement agencies report that they cannot fill needed positions due to a lack of qualified candidates (Washington Post, July 2006)
* The Border Patrol has struggled to recruit and retain college-educated agents who can speak Spanish (New York Times, June 2006)
* At colleges such as Columbia University’s School of Public Affairs, the percentage of graduates going into public service has dropped by half in the past 25 years (Financial Times, February 2007)
The challenges of the early twenty-first century underscore how much American democracy depends upon strong public institutions and competent civilian leadership at all levels of society. Given the current crisis in public leadership, there has never been a more auspicious time to pursue George Washington’s dream of a national university.