David Bohnett mayoral fellowship program featured in Governing Magazine

December 7, 2017

The David Bohnett Leadership and Public Service Fellowship program, which has provided generous support to 20 Ford School graduate students since its launch in 2010, is highlighted today in an article by Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, columnists for Governing Magazine.

The fellowships are competitively awarded to three incoming master’s students each year, and offer two years of in-state tuition support and a funded internship in the City of Detroit Mayor’s Office working directly on some of the city’s most pressing policy priorities.

In “Some cities are getting Millennials’ aid for free,” Michael Fleming, executive director of the David Bohnett Foundation, describes what makes the program unique. “These aren’t interns who make copies,” he tells Barrett and Greene. Most fellows are assigned to senior staff and work on a range of salient policy issues, from data mapping an outdated streetlight grid to designing improvements to the city’s recycling programs.

“Without the ability to match the wages and salaries for most private-sector jobs,” Barrett and Greene write, “the public sector has long struggled to attract talent.” Taking on David Bohnett Fellows doesn’t cost the government a dime. Since 2006, the foundation has invested $4.3 million in the David Bohnett Leadership and Public Service Fellowship Program, which operates in Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles.

“It’s getting at a root of the public sector’s problems,” the authors write: “workforce shortages.” One fellow at a time, the David Bohnett Foundation is building a pipeline of public servants committed to serving in local government.

--By Jacqueline Mullen (MPP ‘18)

Read the full article in Governing Magazine. Note that 20 graduate students at the Ford School have received fellowships since 2010. Thirteen of these students have graduated to date, six of whom continue to work in Detroit.