If you're looking to join a crusade, Teach for America might be just the gig for you. The nonprofit's mission is nothing less than fixing public education in the U.S. TFA provides teacher training to recent college grads and young professionals, and then places them in disadvantaged schools around the country. (The teachers work for their local school districts, not TFA.)
Everyone we spoke with at TFA, from facilities managers to senior executives, seemed fired by a missionary zeal to give all American children access to quality education. "The bottom line is achieving results for every student, regardless of their zip code," says Crystal Jones, 30, director of the nonprofit's operations in Jacksonville.
TFA offers an innovative work/life integration program, giving most employees the opportunity to work from anywhere at any time. Other benefits include a 403(b) match of 100% up to 5% of pay, an extra week of vacation after three years, and a week off around the holidays.
At TFA, talent and hard work yield rapid advancement. "I'm in my late twenties, managing a big team and a huge chunk of the country," says David Omenn, a former teacher in the program who now oversees all campus recruitment in the Western U.S. "And the caliber of people I work with is unbelievable."
Focus on the mission. TFA urges all staffers to spend time in classrooms to see how they make a difference.
Stress professional development. Training and evaluations are taken very seriously at TFA, and talented staffers get pushed up the ladder fast.
Be flexible. As long as they get the job done, TFA staffers can live anywhere and work from home.