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Northam seeks applications for Virginia Management Fellows

Photo Credit: niroworld/Adobe Stock

There is still time to apply to participate in the third Virginia Management Fellows cohort.

The program, a partnership between the Commonwealth and the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs, is designed to meet the state’s succession planning goals for future leaders.

Applications are due Sunday, Dec. 22. Click here to apply.

“Virginia is building a pipeline of future leaders through the Virginia Management Fellows,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “I see the contributions our 22 current Fellows are making to our Commonwealth already, and we are creating more opportunities for people to become future leaders in state government. The Fellows program does this by providing technical skill development, general leadership and management training, and the opportunity to work with supportive mentors in state agencies.”

The General Assembly approved the learning program, salary, and benefit structure of the VMF. The program is designed to address the needs for leadership and management in all branches of state government as current employees begin to retire.

Forty-two 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, according to recent state data.

“The VMF program works,” said Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne. “Our first cohort is wrapping up in January, and more than half of the Fellows are already hired into state agency jobs. The training is top-notch and the state agency mentors provide the support and experience that our future leaders will need. Right now, 25 agencies are supporting the VMF program, with more onboarding to meet the growing demand of the program. The VMF program and this concept of current leaders preparing the Commonwealth’s next leaders is one of a kind in the United States.”

Deputy Secretary of Finance June Jennings leads the program, working with finance colleagues, state agencies, executive cabinet members, legislators, and faculty members from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs.

“The third cohort signals the value that state agencies place on the Fellows program,” said Deputy Secretary June Jennings. “Each cohort develops a network of future leaders who have various skills, interests, and abilities. The cohort concept helps break down operational silos, creating coalitions of future leaders in our Commonwealth. It’s clear that members of the General Assembly value the program and call on Fellows for research. We look forward to seeing all the great things that Cohort 3 will do for the people of Virginia.”

Fellows are employed in a two-year salaried and benefited position. At the end of the fellowship period, Fellows will be able to apply for high-demand positions within state government. The VMF program offers career placement advisement for state agency roles, post-fellowship.

“Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs faculty designed the Fellows program in partnership with the Governor’s office,” said Leisha LaRiviere, Associate Director of SPIA at Virginia Tech’s Richmond campus and VMF Director. “Faculty lead the training and educational components of the program, dedicated to the development of public service leadership.”

A new component of the VMF program is the service-learning initiative. Fellows work on a public-private partnership with a social purpose, designing, funding, and implementing a project in support of a community group or program in need. This adds to the technical skill and generalist leadership training, putting the Fellows’ new knowledge to work and signaling the value of public service through volunteerism.

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.

VMF program applicants must have graduated on or after May 2017 from an accredited institution with a bachelor’s degree or demonstrate proof of a May 2020 graduation date. Master’s, JD, or PhD degree holders, who completed their studies after May 2017 or those who are currently enrolled as students in degree-seeking graduate-level programs, are eligible.

In addition to the agency rotations and mentor training, Fellows will research, study, and understand public administration theories and processes through seminars and lectures designed specifically for the Commonwealth. Fellows 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.

To learn more about the Fellows program, visit or contact Leisha LaRiviere, at

augusta free press
augusta free press