FAQs: Policy Fellows
What personal qualities, skills, or experiences do you look for in applicants?
We seek Policy Fellows who are leaders or emerging leaders in their field of work; they have a strong record of contributing to their community or working toward the common good. Each Fellow adds an interesting perspective to the cohort and brings curiosity, problem-solving skills, and an openness to new ideas and concepts. The Policy Fellows program values and encourages diversity, and one strength of the program is the diversity of our Fellows. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and political perspectives.
What kinds of careers or professions are represented in the program? Who has participated in the past?
Fellows represent a very wide range of professional backgrounds. Here’s a sampling of the organizations represented in the past four years of Policy Fellows cohorts:
Business: Best Buy • Cargill • CenturyLink • Dorsey & Whitney LLP • Ecolab • GE • General Mills • Itasca Project • KSTP-TV • Mayo Clinic • MN Chamber of Commerce • PepsiCo • St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce • Target • UnitedHealthcare • U.S. Bancorp
Nonprofit: AARP Minnesota • Amherst H. Wilder Foundation • Blue Cross & Blue Shield • CaringBridge • Carlson Family Foundation • Citizens League • Dar-Al-Hijrah Mosque • Education Minnesota • Farmers' Legal Action Group • Greater Twin Cities United Way • McKnight Foundation • MN Environmental Fund • MN Housing Partnership • Nonprofits Assistance Fund • Project for Pride in Living • Twin Cities Public Television
Public/Government : Chaska Police Department • City of Minneapolis • Metropolitan Council • Minneapolis Community and Technical College • MN Attorney General's Office • MN Department of Employment & Economic Development • MN Department of Human Services • MN Department of Veterans’ Affairs • MN House of Representatives • MN National Guard • Saint Paul Public Schools • U.S. Department of Commerce
What are the requirements or prerequisites to apply?
There is no specific educational or professional requirement for participation; however the strongest candidates typically have at least several years of full-time work experience. You must live and work in Minnesota, even if some of your work is focused outside of the state. You can be from any part of the state; Fellows who come from outside the Twin Cities metro area may apply for lodging assistance.
What is the time commitment?
Fellows participate in monthly full-day workshops, most often on Fridays, from about 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Typically, several articles or book chapters are assigned in advance of each session as preparatory readings. There is also a three-day study trip to Washington, DC. Finally, Fellows engage in a collaboratively designed small-group project, working with community partners to address a public policy issue; the bulk of this project work takes place in the winter and spring months. Fellows can expect to spend 10 to 15 hours per month on activities related to the program. While we realize things come up and conflicts can arise unexpectedly, you should plan to participate in all program activities if you are accepted as a Fellow.
How do I know if it’s a good time for me to apply?
It is a good time to apply if you’re looking for a leadership development opportunity outside of your immediate professional field; if you’re looking to get more involved in public affairs, public policy, or politics; if you’d like to expand your personal and professional network; if you are seeing how your work connects to other sectors or to the policy process. Typically, people who participate in the Fellows program are not enrolled in school full-time.
How much does the program cost? What if I can’t afford it? Are scholarships available?
The program fee for 2017-2018 is $7,500 for the nine-month program.
The program fee covers:
- Monthly sessions led by professional workshop facilitators
- Breakfast and lunch during all monthly sessions
- Washington, DC, study trip: airfare, lodging, and most meals
- Staffing, facilities, and materials for all sessions
- Alumni connection and engagement opportunities
Some employers cover all or a portion of the fee from professional development funds. Scholarships* and installment plans are available to participants (from any sector) who demonstrate need, though all Fellows are asked to make some contribution to their program fee. Scholarship requests are not part of the application process; after new Fellows are selected through a need-blind process, we follow up with each individual regarding their payment plans and/or scholarship needs. Please do not let financial concerns prevent you from applying if you are interested. Call Kate Cimino at 612-625-8330 with any questions.
* Scholarships specifically for nonprofit sector participants are made possible by generous gifts from the George Family Foundation and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.
How many applicants are accepted?
We are typically able to accept about half of our applicant pool, to form a cohort of approximately 35 Fellows each year. Our selection committee (made up of program alumni and community members) seeks to admit a cohort representing the business, nonprofit, and government/public sectors.
Is this a certificate or for-credit program?
Participation in the program does not result in a certificate, a degree, or in course credit hours toward a degree.