The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) and International City-County Management Association (ICMA) partner to offer the NCACC-ICMA County Management Fellowship Program, in which a small number of North Carolina county governments host recent MPA graduates in paid Fellowships that are designed to provide real project experience and fast career growth in a supportive environment.
Both the Fellow and the host county must commit to a minimum of one year in their respective roles, and agreements can be extended for a maximum of two years. Both the NCACC and ICMA provide cohort benefits for Fellows.
No two counties are the same, and work plans and experiences will vary depending on the host county and management team. The NCACC works to enlist host counties and candidates but does not make placements; all interview and offer decisions are with the host county government, and terms of employment are between county and candidate.
The NCACC is currently accepting applicants from recent MPA graduates for one to two placements that will begin in the June-July 2021 timeframe. Recent MPA graduates should submit a letter of interest and resume. Occasional placements are made outside of fiscal year timeframe, and interested students/recent graduates are encouraged to inquire about the program at any time.
Links for County Managers
- Printable flier for prospective host counties (PDF)
- Memorandum of Understanding template (PDF) | Provisions by Party (PDF)
- ICMA host county examples of work plans (PDF): Catawba | Durham
- ICMA article: Preparing the Next Generation of County Managers Through Fellowships (July 2016)
- NCACC article: Managers can get back and give back (February 2013 – page 5)
The NCACC creates opportunities for County Managers and recent graduates of Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs through the NCACC-ICMA County Management Fellowship Program.
This program, modeled after the Local Government Management Fellowship administered by the International City-County Management Association (ICMA) — a program partner — strives to place recent MPA graduates who have interest in North Carolina county government management careers into full-time, salaried fellowships with county managers and management teams interested in helping someone new to the profession reach his or her growth potential.
Participating counties must provide a challenging work plan as well as a supportive environment that allows for an immersive experience into county management. In return, the NCACC can assist with the county’s employment costs associated with the fellowship, which can range from 12 to 24 months in duration.
Opportunities to Serve as a Host County
The Association is interested in speaking with potential host counties for placements. Counties selected to participate as hosts can receive NCACC assistance with salary and other potential incentives (handled on a negotiated, individual basis). The NCACC requires a minimum $35,000 salary and employment benefits.
Any interested county will need to demonstrate a commitment to providing a rewarding career experience for the Fellow in the application process by indicating potential projects, activities, and responsibilities for the Fellow. A signed Memorandum of Understanding and a detailed work plan are required.
The NCACC Board of Directors approved the program in June 2012 to help counter a decline in the number of young professionals pursuing careers in the public sector.
How it Works
For fellowships that follow a fiscal year, ICMA provides the NCACC with a pool of pre-screened, North Carolina-based applicants from its fellowship program, ensuring high-quality talent for participating counties. The Association will then share those applications with interested host counties, which can then choose which applicants to interview. The host county controls offers of employment, start and completion dates of the fellowship, and other employment details.
The Association also works directly with contacts at UNC system MPA programs to solicit for applicants for placements, including those that do not follow the fiscal year.
If you are a current MPA student or recent graduate and are interested in opportunities within the fellowship program, send a resume and letter of interest to Jason King, NCACC Director of Education and Conferences, at [email protected] or 919-715-0045.
Cohort Benefits for Fellows
Fellows enjoy a network of mentoring and support through the relationship with the county manager and county employees, as well as a cohort experience with other NCACC fellows and ICMA fellows based in North Carolina. NCACC fellows will be invited to participate in statewide and regional Association events, such as the Annual Conference, County Assembly Day and district meetings, to receive a larger networking experience as well as exposure to state government. The Association will also fund each of its fellows’ North Carolina City and County Management Association (NCCCMA) membership dues and seminar registration fees for the year.