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Capital City Fellows Program FAQs
- What is the Capital City Fellows Program?
- How do I apply?
- Who is eligible?
- What is the process for selecting Fellows?
- What types of work do Fellows perform?
- Do Fellows get to select their placements?
- What agencies have Fellows?
- How is this program unique?
- Do Fellows receive special training?
- How are Fellows evaluated?
- Are Fellows guaranteed a job after completing the two-year fellowship?
- How much are Fellows paid?
- Does the city pay for Fellows’ relocation and/or housing expenses?
- Is the start date negotiable?
- What benefits are Fellows eligible to receive?
- Are Fellows eligible for tuition reimbursement for coursework during the Fellowship?
- If I have worked previously for the District or Federal Government, am I eligible for greater leave accrual?
- How many Fellows are selected each year?
- Did all the Fellows attend schools in the Washington area, or are they from across the country?
- Are Fellows required to be US citizens?
What is the Capital City Fellows Program?
The Capital City Fellows Program (CCFP) is a mayoral initiative to attract recent graduates of master’s degree program in public administration, public policy, urban planning, and related fields to work for the city of Washington, DC. Candidates compete for an 18-month fellowship appointment during which they may complete three six-month rotations in different city agencies. In addition to on-the-job training in their host agencies, Fellows are given unique opportunities to meet with high-level city officials and participate in educational and professional development seminars.
How do I apply?
The application period is March 2, 2015 through April 17, 2015 for the Fellows who will start working in October 2015. To apply, candidates must complete the online application which includes but is not limited to unofficial graduate transcripts, a resume, completion of Ranking Factors, and two references (educational, professional). An official transcript will be requested if candidate is selected for an interview.
Who is eligible?
Candidates must have earned their graduate degree (with a GPA of 3.5 or higher) within two to three years prior to the start of the October fellowship. In other words, Fellows starting October 2015 must have earned their master’s degree between October 2013 and October 2015. Waivers to this requirement are granted in exceptional cases. Please contact the program manager for more information.
There is no subject-specific master’s degree requirement although the program mainly attracts people focused on public administration, public policy, urban planning, public health, business administration, or engineering. Law school graduates are also applicable. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to public service and an interest in public policy and management. In addition, Fellows must be District residents or become District residents within 180 days of their start date.
What is the process for selecting Fellows?
An Advisory Board reviews all the applications and invites superior applicants to an all-day interview session held in the District in June/July. (Note that candidates are required to pay their own way to the interview.) At the June/July session, the Advisory Board evaluates applicants based on an individual interview, a writing assessment, and a group exercise completed that day. Candidates are informed of their status in late August. Fellows start working in October.
What types of work do Fellows perform?
Each placement is unique and host agencies involved Fellows in a range of projects and processes, from budget development and analysis to strategic planning, process improvement, law research, and constituent services. For example, the Fellow assigned to the Department of Human Resources might work on training city officials on the performance management system, whereas the Fellow assigned to the Office of the City Adminstrator might work on launching the Neighborhood Services Initiative.
Do Fellows get to select their placements?
Not directly. The Department of Human Resources maintains the right to make all placements based on a combination of agency needs and the Fellows’ experience and skills. Fellows are given the opportunity to express their preferences for working in particular areas of the government, and every effort is made to accommodate these preferences while also meeting agency needs.
What agencies have Fellows?
Current fellowship placements include: Executive Office of the Mayor, Office of the City Administrator, District Department of Transportation, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, District Office of Planning, Department of Human Resources, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Department of Forensic Sciences, and District Department of the Environment.
How is this program unique?
Unlike some fellowship programs in which Fellows work in one agency or department throughout their tenure, the Capital City Fellows can work in up to three different agencies over the course of the 18 months. As a result, Fellows have the opportunity to see many facets of the city government.
Do Fellows receive special training?
Yes. Fellows participate in regular required and optional developmental activities. Developmental activities cover areas such as budgeting, procurement, and human resources, and also expose the Fellows to government initiatives and processes outside of their placements. Additionally, Fellows are required to take a prescribed set of management courses that are specific to District government operations.
How are Fellows evaluated?
Fellows are subject to performance evaluations at the end of each six-month rotation. The evaluations are based on performance management plans established at the outset of each rotation. If the evaluations are unfavorable and indicated that the Fellow is not living up to the expectations of the Fellowship, she/he will be dismissed from the program.
Are Fellows guaranteed a job after completing the two-year fellowship?
No. Assuming that the Fellows complete their 18 month commitment, receive favorable performance evaluations, and want to continue working for the city, every effort will be made by DC Department of Human Resources staff, agency staff, and the Fellows themselves to find appropriate positions at the end of the fellowships. However, there is no guarantee that appropriate jobs will be available.
How much are Fellows paid?
All Fellows earn the same rate of $53,560 for the first year and 4 percent increase in the second year based on performance and budgetary availability. The salary is non-negotiable.
Does the city pay for Fellows’ relocation and/or housing expenses?
No. Fellows are responsible for their own relocation and housing expenses.
Is the start date negotiable?
Generally not, as most positions begin on the same day in early October. However, on occasion vacancies and new placements become available throughout the year, so it is possible to start later than early October. These positions are filled as they arise from the list of candidates who were interviewed in June/July. Applications are only considered when the application process ends.
What benefits are Fellows eligible to receive?
Fellows are considered regular District Government employees and as such receive the standard benefits available to all city employees such as health insurance, life insurance, vacation days, leave accrual, etc. See Summary of Benefits for Employees Hired On or After October 1, 1987 for more information. This information can be found at www.dchr.dc.gov.
Are Fellows eligible for tuition reimbursement for coursework during the Fellowship?
The District government does not currently have a city-wide program to cover the cost of academic courses for city employees. Individual agencies may use their training budget to cover coursework if they so choose, but they likely give preference to coursework for long-term employees.
If I have worked previously for the District or Federal government, am I eligible for greater leave accrual?
Yes. Both prior District and Federal government employment count toward the years of service criteria for accelerated leave accrual. Employees who have fewer than 3 years of government service earn 4 hours of annual and 4 hours of sick leave every 2 weeks; 3-15 year employees receive 6 hours of annual and 4 hours of sick leave; and 15+ year employees earn 8 hours of annual and 4 hours of sick leave.
How many Fellows are selected each year?
The number of fellowships available depends on how many District agencies are able to participate in the program. While there is no set number from year to year, it is estimated that fifteen fellowships will be available each 18 month period.
Did all the Fellows attend schools in the Washington area, or are they from across the country?
While many of the Fellows attended local universities (American University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University, and the University of the District of Columbia), we welcome—and encourage—applicants from across the country. Current and former Fellows have hailed from schools such as University of Maryland, Harvard University, Syracuse University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Georgia, Baruch College—CUNY, Troy State University, MIT, and Virginia Tech.
Are Fellows required to be US citizens?
No. Non-US Citizens are eligible for the program as long as they can provide the necessary documentation to prove identity and employment eligibility (including Form I-9, which is completed by all new hires). However, please note that the Capital City Fellows Program cannot sponsor Visas.