In the final installment of our five-part series, “Millennials,” we discuss how people of this generation are doing volunteer work as a way to learn valuable skills and make connections while they continue to search for work.
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Millennials are volunteering their time as a way to gain experience and make contacts that could help lead them to jobs.

For a generation often accused of being self-absorbed and narcissistic, millennials are managing to prove preconceptions wrong by volunteering in record numbers.

The 2013 Millennial Impact Report finds that 73 percent percent of young people  volunteered for a non-profit in 2012.

While social involvement from the younger generation has been relatively constant throughout history, the collapsing economy made many issues come to the forefront for this generation.

“Whether that was their parents savings account or the jobs that were available, I do think it has made it young people more aware of having to do something about these problems,” said Jennifer Kim, state director for New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG).

The study found that when it came down to picking causes, passion for a cause highly influenced which non-profits millennials volunteered for.

“whether its student debt directly affecting their bank account after college or global warming affecting the world they live in, or the job market affecting what kind of work they can get after college,” explained Kim.

With many young people unable to find work, many see volunteerism as a way to learn valuable skills and make even more valuable connections.

“Those skills become invaluable later on in life and they help you no matter what your career is,” said Kim.

The causes are important to millennials beyond the time they spend volunteering. A 2012 survey conducted by the Intelligence Group finds 61 percent of millennials find a brands alignment wit social causes to be “somewhat” to “very important”.

Click below to view previous stories in our "Millennials" series: