Consider a Responsible Career Fellowship in Public Affairs

If you’re entering your last year of college, the time to start thinking about next-step career decisions is now. The biggest question you need to ask yourself is whether you’re interested in starting a job, pursuing graduate school, or doing something else altogether. Even if you’re an experienced professional, you may find yourself taking a step back and evaluating your next career move. If so, congratulations! It’s really important to reevaluate your career and pursue an objective that makes you truly happy.

If you are looking to explore the world outside of the private sector, you may be interested in pursuing a public affairs track. This type of career path can take you in a number of directions through nonprofits, think thanks, public interest groups, and local government jobs. You might be interested in working on a campaign or pursuing a career in politics, or you may want to inspire change behind the scenes.

Before jumping into a focused career trajectory, you may want to apply for a fellowship to test the waters. Even if you decide to pursue a completely different profession, your year of service will equip you with a unique skillset and sense of professional insight. Here are some fellowship options that you can explore, regardless of whether you’re entry-level or experienced:

Code for America is a program that is designed for people with a tech inclination. The program aims to bring innovation from the Internet industry to local government. During an 11-month program, you will act as a technology consultant in a local government office. Fellows receive a $30,000 salary in addition to health insurance and travel reimbursement. The majority of the program takes place in San Francisco, and one month takes place in Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Boulder, or DC.

City Hall Fellows is a program that matches recent graduates with local government positions in San Francisco, Houston, and Baton Rouge. To apply, you need to have earned your bachelor’s degree no earlier than 2007. City Hall Fellows requires a year of service.

The Coro Public Affairs fellowship is a year-long rotational program in public affairs. The competitive selection process places fellows in rotating positions so that they can explore opportunities in journalism, nonprofits, businesses, and local government. Fellows get a first-hand look at how different professional sectors connect.

The Capital Fellows Program is based in California. For one year, fellows serve in a state government office in Sacramento or Los Angeles. Capital Fellows students earn graduate school credits at Sacramento State University in addition to a small salary and health insurance.

Another option is to move to DC, where think tanks and fellowship opportunities are plentiful. It may help to research organizations and network with local professionals ahead of time. Consider working with your school’s alumni resource office to connect with individuals who may be able to provide guidance and advice.

Photo Credit: PhillipC