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Sector Specific Training


Todd Heidt

Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Training and experience in a specific work sector

Leveraging concrete knowledge and skills is central to on-the-ground international development work. Through this PC Prep Program, you will begin to build a professional specialty, which should serve your career well whether or not you become a Peace Corps Volunteer.

For PC Prep, you need to complete at least 3 courses that align with a specific Peace Corps work sector (Education, Health, Environment, Agriculture, Youth in Development, or Community Economic Development). You must also accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferably in a teaching or outreach capacity.

Peace Corps Tip! - If you intend to apply to the Peace Corps, the best way to assure that you will be a strong candidate is to explore Peace Corps' openings and identify the type of assignments in which you'd like to serve (see Volunteer Openings), and then review the position's required and desired qualifications and build up your knowledge, skills and experience accordingly. In the process, you should fulfill these PC Prep experiential requirements!

There are six sectors in which Peace Corps Volunteers serve - detailed below. Choose one sector to focus on. Complete at least 3 courses + 50 hours of related experience in that sector.

Below find suggested courses and volunteer opportunities. Students may also submit their own proposals for substitutions to their PC Prep program advisor for consideration.


Teach lessons that last a lifetime. Education is the Peace Corps' largest program area. Volunteers play an important role in creating links among schools, parents, and communities by working in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools as math, science, conversational English, and resource teachers or as early grade reading and literacy teacher trainers. Volunteers also develop libraries and technology resource centers.

Courses at Knox:

  • EDUC 201 School and Society
  • EDUC 204 Psychological Foundations of Education
  • EDUC 205 Adolescent Development
  • EDUC 208 Reading & Writing Across the Curriculum
  • EDUC 209 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • EDUC 301 Teaching and Learning in a Diverse World
  • EDUC 312 Teaching Reading/Language Arts
  • EDUC 314 Teaching Mathematics in the Elementary School
  • EDUC 315 Teaching Science in the Elementary School
  • EDUC 316 Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School
  • MODL 230 Tutoring Second Language Learners
  • CTL 140 Pedagogy in Practice
  • CTL 151 Intro to Peer Tutoring

Suggested Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Best buddies (adults with intellectual disabilities)
  • Carl Sandburg's Literacy Coalition
  • Volunteer at Bright Futures PreSchool
  • Work with "College for Kids" over the summer
  • Be a T.A. for a Knox course
  • District 205 After School Programs
  • Reading Buddies 
  • Carl Sandburg Dream Team Tutors
  • Community Arts Engagement 
  • Anything is Possible Foundation
  • Eye to Eye
  • Champions are Readers


Serve on the front lines of global health. Health volunteers work within their communities to promote important topics such as nutrition, maternal and child health, basic hygiene, and water sanitation. Volunteers also work in HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs to train youth as peer educators, develop appropriate education strategies, provide support to children orphaned by the pandemic, and create programs that provide emotional and financial support to families and communities affected by the disease.

Courses at Knox

Any three Biology courses, or any combination of Biology and the following:

  • PSYC 279 Health Psychology
  • SPST 260 Athletic Injuries
  • SPST 210 Sports Administration
  • PSYC 271 Human Sexuality
  • ECON 205 The Business of Health
  • SPST 202 Personal Health and Health Issues
  • HIST 267C History of Birth Control

Suggested Volunteer Opportunities

  • Harbor Light Hospice
  • Knox County Health Department -Safe Harbor
  • Knox County Red Cross
  • United Way of Knox County
  • Best Buddies 
  • Special Olympics
  • Big Pink Volleyball
  • Polar Plunge
  • Bowl for Kids Sake
  • ASHA for Life
  • CASA Organization
  • Blood Drives 


Help forge a global movement to protect our planet.  Volunteers lead grassroots efforts in their communities to protect the environment and strengthen understanding of environmental issues. They teach environmental awareness in elementary and secondary schools and to youth groups and community organizations, empowering communities to make their own decisions about how to protect and conserve the local environment. Volunteers also address environmental degradation by promoting sustainable use of natural resources.

Courses at Knox

Any three Environmental Studies courses or participation in Green Oaks immersion term.

Suggested Volunteer Opportunities

  • Knox Corps 
  • The summer steward program at Green Oaks
  • Waste Ambassadors with the Sustainability Office
  • Food Recovery Network volunteers
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Christmas in Action


Lead grassroots efforts to fight hunger in a changing world. Agricultural Volunteers work with small-scale farmers and families to increase food security and production and adapt to climate change while promoting environmental conservation practices. They introduce farmers to techniques that prevent soil erosion, reduce the use of harmful pesticides, and replenish the soil. They work alongside farmers on integrated projects that often combine vegetable gardening, livestock management, agroforestry, and nutrition education.

Courses at Knox

Any combination of the following:

  • ENVS 242 Hydrology
  • ENVS 260 World Resources
  • BIO 160 Plants
  • BIO 390 Plant Biology
  • ECON 110 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON/ENVS 368 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
  • ECON 373 Economic Development
  • ENVS 174 Urban Agriculture
  • ENVS 241 Soil Science
  • BIO 320 Ethnobotany
  • PS 360 Politics of Climate Change

Suggested Volunteer Opportunities

  • Knox Farm
  • Community Garden 
  • Knox Corps 
  • Growing Galesburg 
  • Farmers Market Galesburg
  • En Season Restaurant
  • Sitka Salmon Shares

Youth in Development

Empower the next generation of changemakers. Volunteers work with youth in communities on projects that promote engagement and active citizenship, including gender awareness, employability, health and HIV/AIDS education, environmental awareness, sporting programs, and information technology.

Courses at Knox

Any combination of the following:

  • PSYC 203 Developmental Psychology
  • EDUC 201 School and Society
  • EDUC 204 Psychological Foundations of Education
  • EDUC 205 Adolescent Development
  • EDUC 301 Teaching and Learning in a Diverse World
  • ENG 323 Studies in Adolescent Literature
  • SPST 225 Fundamentals of Coaching
  • ANSO 280/281 Social Service Internship
  • GWST 101 Women, Culture, and Society
  • GWST 208 The Sociology of Gender
  • GWST 275 Psychology of Gender

Suggested Volunteer Opportunities 

  • Boys and Girls Club 
  • Eye to Eye 
  • Knox College-College for Kids
  • Girl Scouts
  • Knox County Housing Authority -Discovery Depot

Community Economic Development

Harness 21st-century tools to help communities lift themselves. Volunteers work with development banks, nongovernmental organizations, and municipalities to strengthen infrastructure and encourage economic opportunities in communities. They frequently teach in classroom settings and work with entrepreneurs and business owners to develop and market their products. Some Volunteers also teach basic computer skills and help communities take advantage of technologies such as e-commerce, distance learning, and more.

Courses at Knox

Any combination of the following:

  • ANSO 243 Community Engagement
  • AMST 272 Alternatives to Consumerism
  • BUS 280 Business and Society
  • ECON 310 The Economics of Nonprofit Enterprises
  • BUS 320 Entrepreneurship and Society
  • ECON 373 Economic Development
  • ANSO 280-281 Social Service Internship
  • BUS 211 Principles of Accounting I
  • BUS 285 Marketing and Society
  • Or participation in Start Up Term

Suggested Volunteer Opportunities 

  • Blessings in a Backpack
  • Fish Food Pantry
  • Knox Prairie Community Kitchen -Galesburg Visitors and Convention Bureau
  • Kiwanis
  • Galesburg Civic Art Center
  • Knox Corps
  • Prairie Players Theater

Peace Corps Tip!  Nearly two-thirds of Peace Corps Volunteers serve in Education or Health. Coursework and meaningful experience in one of these areas - especially teaching English as a second/foreign language - produce some of the strongest candidates.

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Printed on Saturday, January 22, 2022