City Hall Fellows Program
The Fellowship Experience
The fellowship experience is a 12-month-long, post-college, pre-graduate school Fellowship program that integrates hands-on, full-time work local government work experience with intensive, comprehensive, real-politic-focused training in how cities work and the people, issues and organizations that influence local policy. Fellows spend their service year working on high-need, high-impact municipal initiatives in cities where they have personal ties.
Hands-On Experience Serving in Local Government
Fellows are grouped in cohorts within a partner city or metropolitan region. During their service year, each Fellow works full-time as a special project assistant for a senior local government administrator or official. Fellows are matched to work placements based on the host government’s immediate needs and the Fellow’s skills. The proprietary placement process ensures that new talent is spread throughout government agencies, not concentrated solely in high-profile political offices. Check out the Fellows’ bio pages to see the types of placements our Fellows have and the work they do.
Intensive Civic Leadership Training
The year-long Fellowship starts with a 3-week orientation designed and run by City Hall Fellows. The orientation grounds Fellows in the cultural, social and political history of their host community, builds cohort rapport and prepares Fellows for the Fellowship year. Thereafter, Fellows gather weekly for half-day sessions in our intensive, proprietary Civic Leadership Development Program (CLDP). Facilitated by a City Hall Fellows employee, the CLDP takes Fellows on a structured exploration through the context and operations of their own local government. Fellows deep dive into their government structure (including budget, civil service, labor and unions, and the governmental, quasi-governmental and non-governmental organizations which regulate, impact or provide public services to or within that community), the local policy-making process, and the relationship and interactions between both local and state and local and federal government. Networking and engaged reflection are built into this curriculum, as is hands-on practice at analyzing and developing cross-agency and citywide policy initiatives. Through guided discussions with policy-makers, policy-influencers and subject matter experts, workshops, behind-the-scenes site tours, reading assignments, and hands-on practice, Fellows develop the knowledge, skills and network necessary to become effective local civic leaders, both immediately and for the rest of their lives.
Applied Practice in Evaluating and Recommending Local Policy Initiatives
During their service year, Fellows undertake several consulting projects as part of their training. These projects – which Fellows performpro bono for city agency clients – are designed to directly engage Fellows in their areas of interest, tie together the applied skills, academic information, and local knowledge that they are acquiring during their Fellowship, and provide them with work product that will be useful in applying for post-Fellowship academic and professional opportunities. Topics are driven by the city’s pressing needs and the Fellows’ interests. Past projects have included an analysis of earthquake and pandemic flu preparedness plans citywide; a detailed proposal for a public-private partnership to seed an entire downtown with free WiFi; and a comprehensive review of a city’s hiring policies complete with a proposal for how to attract Millenials to the municipal workforce and retain them. The consulting projects are truly applied learning – they provide our partner cities with analysis, data, and viewpoints they otherwise would not be able to generate internally or afford to acquire.
Specific Eligibility Criteria
The program is designed primarily for recent college graduates who have not yet attended graduate school. Applicants need not have earned their bachelor’s degree before applying, but must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution prior to their Fellowship start date.
Applicants from all majors and academic disciplines will be considered and are encouraged to apply. Fellows are expected to possess the following characteristics: (i) academic achievement, (ii) written and oral communication skills, (iii) leadership potential and ability, (iv) dedication to public service; and (v) an entrepreneurial spirit appropriate for participating in our growing program. While there is no GPA cut-off, the Fellowship is highly competitive. Additionally, preference is given to applicants who can demonstrate a strong connection to the city for which they are applying.