Ask a Rotarian, “What is vocational service?” and you may get a blank stare or you might get an “I’m not sure.” Every once in awhile you will get one of life’s little lessons on Rotary history as those who do know seem to have dedicated themselves to it.

Vocational Service was one of Rotary’s “original” 4 Avenues of Service, and as such, much of the basics of what makes Rotary vocational service what it is today came from the foundations set in place by early Rotarians.
Vocational Service focuses on:
• Adhering to and promoting the highest ethical standards in all occupations.
• Recognizing the value in all useful occupations, not just those that are pursued by Rotarians.
• Contributing one’s vocational talents to meeting the needs of the community.
A recent Rotary International Vocational Service e-letter gives us this definition:
“Through vocational service initiatives, we can be champions for high ethical standards in our workplaces, use our professional expertise to serve others, and have a positive impact on local and international communities.”
They go on to suggest:
• Start a career counseling or vocational training program and invite non- Rotarian community members to attend.
• Organize a discussion or workshop on workplace ethics and invite local non-Rotarian business leaders to attend. Vocational service is all about ethics in how we treat each other and people with whom we do business.
• Sponsor a career day in which club members bring young people to their places of business.
• Host a Rotary Day celebration to connect with professionals in your community who might be good candidates for Rotary membership.
Vocational Service is not just an individual responsibility. Vocational Service is the responsibility of BOTH the individual Rotarian AND his or her Rotary club. The role of the club is to develop programs and projects which demonstrate the importance of all vocations and offer members the opportunity to contribute their vocational talents to the problems and needs of our communities.
Finally, I would be remiss in my duties not to remind you that in fulfilling your Vocational Service responsibility, you and your club can help the unemployed and under-employed of Arizona. Here is your chance, at absolutely no cost to you, to provide assistance to the “working poor” of Arizona. Individual Rotarians and their clubs can seek candidates to be helped by Arizona’s unique Vocational Service organization.
Note: Donations can still be made until April 16, 2018 to take a State Tax Credit.
The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona (TRVFA)
Your support and your club’s sponsorship provides a TRVFA applicant:
• A vocational education
• A sustainable pathway to a more productive life
• Financial independence
• A bright tomorrow for those in need - including their dependents.
Your financial support of TRVFA by donating to a “working poor” tax credit in the name of TRVFA provides much needed funding for the program and gives you a tax credit against your Arizona taxes and a donation deduction on your Federal taxes.
Your club may also donate to the TRVFA as part of their annual funding to support Rotary charities.
Your Vocational Service Team
PDG Danny Messersmith, 2017-18 Chair