Outstanding early exposure and access to the highest levels of California gov't
5.0 of 5 stars
Every office and agency wants you - the Capitol Fellows are held in high regard in every office in Sacramento. Because our stipends are paid by the university, we are free, high quality labor that pretty much every office, from the Governor's Office, to the Senate President Pro Tem's Office, to every regulatory office, wants to attract. The result is we get our pick of the litter and incredible access across state government. You choose where you work - which is incredible for a fellowship. And you get to watch some very powerful people try to woo you into choosing working for them.
Instant incredible public policy network, including former fellows, current fellows (many of whom go on to stay in government), and experts brought in by the fellowship. Many of my peers have stayed in legislative offices or gone on to work in Washington (I did, after moving from the fellowship to working on a 2008 presidential campaign).
Excellent program director, Brian Aguilar, is a former fellow, a Stanford grad, and just a wicked smart dude.
Jobs post-fellowship are practically guaranteed. In my class, one fellow was immediately hired as an Assistant Secretary, while others went to CalPERS, legislative offices, Secretary of State's office, Treasurer's offices, regional offices, and the Governor's office. Some of us moved to political campaigns and to Washington.
Are you a Democrat who has no Republican friends? This fellowship will put an end to that. The group is diverse and extremely non-partisan. It's great to discuss public policy and politics honestly, at a high level, with people you like and respect, yet still disagree with. If you're an extreme partisan, you might be dislike how objective the fellowship is, as an experience and as a friendship group - regardless of who is in power at the time. For example, Republican fellows are often placed into Democratic administrations, and visa verse.
Working in government is a cultural shock, and sometimes problems seem intractable. It has its down moments.
The fellowship group is ambitious and very interested in public policy, government, and leadership. Even outside of work the discussion is nonstop. I wouldn't recommend this program to someone with a casual interest in government, or someone just looking for a job.
The pay is for survival - and it is enough to survive in Sacramento. But you won't be saving any money here.
Government is huge, and every office is different, so experiences vary wildly. Choose your assignment carefully, and manage your superiors carefully. They are important and powerful and are often do not have experience working with fresh graduates. This sometimes poses a management challenge for the program and the fellows.
This is a serious, intense, and very intellectual inside look at government. It is totally non-partisan and very type-A, public policy and future politician type folks.
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