Public Service Fellowship

Public Service Fellowship

A one-year fellowship with a strong professional development component that places recent college graduates in a Cuyahoga County public agency

Cleveland, Ohio, and Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Sponsoring Institution
Cleveland Foundation
Key Milestones
Cleveland Foundation establishes its summer internship program for young professional development.
The Cleveland Foundation launches its Public Service Fellowship in an effort to expand its leadership development and young professional programming.
The program places its 34th fellow.
Applications open for the fourth cohort of the Public Service Fellowship.
Financial Implications
  • Funded dozens of fellowships with salaries of $35,000 plus health benefits through grants to host organizations
  • Retained 57 percent of the first cohort as public employees in Cleveland

Select Models Goals

  1. Bring emerging leaders from both across the country and the local community to work in Cleveland’s public sector
  2. Provide recent graduates with an opportunity to develop their professional skills, enhance their networks, and jumpstart careers in public service
Implementation: Model Design
  • A public-sector agency proactively applies to host a fellow and establishes a plan for leadership development, mentorship, and exposure to organizational leadership. 
  • Agencies must commit to an eight-point framework designed to ensure a successful fellowship experience.  Hosts are selected through a process adapted from the foundation’s established grant application methodology.
  • Host agencies can include local government agencies or nonprofit organizations that provide important public goods and services. Previous host agencies have included the Cleveland City Council, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, and the Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry.
  • After being matched with and placed at a public-sector agency, fellows participate in structured professional development program of skill-building sessions administered by the Cleveland Foundation two days per month. 
Key Innovations

Place-based fellowship programs like the Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship retain talent in a given community and cultivate a leadership pipeline within the public and civic sectors. Reflecting the emerging best practice for civic interest fellowship design, fellows are matched with senior leaders within the hosting agency, who are expected to spend time mentoring their fellow. 

Of the initial 23 program alumni, 86 percent continued a career in public service, 57 percent remained in Cleveland, and 21 percent went on to pursue an advanced degree.

Staffing and/or CapacityManagement of the program is shared among Cleveland Foundation staff and coordinated by the Program Officer for Leadership Development. Host agencies agree to fulfill a defined slate of responsibilities, designed to ensure fellows spend their time developing skills, contributing to outcome-oriented initiatives, and gaining exposure to the senior leadership of the organization. 

Strategies Utilized

See also

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