McAuliffe announces launch of new Virginia Management Fellows Program

terry mcauliffeGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced the application launch for the first Virginia Management Fellows class. The program is an initiative of the Commonwealth of Virginia developed with Virginia Tech to meet the state’s needs for future leaders. Recent undergraduate, Master’s, or Ph.D.-level graduates who are dedicated to serving the residents of Virginia will compose the first cohort of fellows.

“I am pleased to announce the launch of the Virginia Management Fellows program today,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginia is blessed with the most talented and dedicated state workforce in the nation, and we are committed to cultivating the next generation of public servants to continue our success building the new Virginia economy. I look forward to seeing this first class of fellows grow into strong, confident leaders who will bring their talents to state government.”

The General Assembly approved the learning program, salary, and benefit structure of the VMF.  The program’s principal leader, Secretary of Finance Ric Brown, worked with finance colleagues, executive cabinet members, legislators, and faculty members from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs to design a comprehensive learning program for the new fellows.

The program aims to create a succession pipeline for leadership and management jobs in all branches of state government that will be in high demand as current employees begin to retire. According to recent data from the Commonwealth, 42 percent of general managers, 39 percent of financial managers, and 30 percent of compliance and safety officers will be eligible for retirement within the next five years.

“The VMF program is a major step in fulfilling Virginia’s need to cultivate talented next-generation leaders who can understand and actively affect how things are done at the state level,” said Secretary of Finance Ric Brown. “These fellows will enter government leadership roles uniquely qualified to tackle the ‘bigger picture’ issues and practical challenges of state strategic management and leadership.”

The fellows position is a two-year leadership and management development certificate program with a cutting-edge approach to state leadership learning. The position includes salary and full benefits, as well as access to the Virginia Retirement System programs. At the end of the fellowship period, fellows will be able to apply for high-demand positions within state government.

“The School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech is excited to be a partner in this innovative program to develop public service leadership for the Commonwealth through hands-on learning, coursework, mentoring, outstanding faculty, and more,” said Anne Khademian, director of the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.

The program features four major learning components: customer service; operations; legislation, regulation, and compliance; and analytics. Each fellow is assigned to and embedded within a state agency for a rotation around these learning areas. A special feature of the rotation is the support and guidance of a mentor-leader.

Participating agencies include the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Criminal Justice Services, Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, Virginia Department of Health, House Appropriations Committee, Department of Human Resources Management, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Planning and Budget, Senate Finance Committee, State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, State Corporation Commission, Virginia Retirement System, Department of Taxation, and Department of the Treasury.

In addition to the agency rotations and mentor training, Virginia Management Fellows will research, study, and understand public administration theories and processes in seminars and lectures designed specifically for the Commonwealth. The fellows will learn public administration management and leadership theory and practice in a leadership development program certificate earned across the two-year fellowship program. The educational elements of the program are designed, researched, tested, and implemented by faculty from the School of Public and International Affairs in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Find the Virginia Management Fellows application here.

Learn more about the fellows program here or by contacting Leisha LaRiviere, director of the VMF program and associate director of SPIA on the Richmond campus at

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