1. What is the Local Government Management Fellowship (LGMF) Program?
  2. How do I apply?
  3. Is my school a member of NASPAA?
  4. What are the application and selection deadlines?
  5. Do I need letters of recommendation?
  6. How should I include my transcripts?
  7. What kind of work will I do?
  8. Are individuals required to relocate with each rotation, and how do the rotation assignments work?
  9. Do I have to relocate for this fellowship, if selected?
  10. Is the LGMF Program open to non-U.S. citizens?
  11. What other organizations have local government management internships/fellowships?
  12. How many fellows are placed?
  13. Where are this year's host local governments?
  14. What is the typical salary and benefits package?
  15. What is the LGMF Advisory Board?
  16. Where are finalist applications sent, and can I rank the local governments I prefer?
  17. What if I need to leave my fellowship early?
  18. Other questions?

What is the Local Government Management Fellowship (LGMF) Program?

The LGMF is a highly competitive career-development opportunity that places fellows in full-time local government management-track positions shaped by direct mentorship under senior government leaders and rotational assignments. Talented professionals with a master's degree in public administration, management, public policy, public affairs, or related area, are given the opportunity to assume real responsibility, thrive in an environment that recognizes potential, and gain unique exposure to local government.

The LGMF was created through a partnership involving ICMA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), the Local Government Hispanic Network (LGHN) to generate interest in local government careers among recent master's program graduates and provide a new opportunity for recent graduates to earn local government experience. The hardest job to get is usually the first one, especially in local government. The LGMF is a stepping stone to careers in local government management. Nineteen alumni Fellows have been hired as city, town and county managers since the pilot year in 2004. Many others are already in senior management positions. Women Leading Government (WLG) joined as a partner in 2016 and the National Association of County Administrators (NACA) joined in 2018.

Back to top

How do I apply?

Apply online using the link on the Become a Fellow page or by visiting https://icma.submittable.com/submit. Students with a master's degree in public administration, public management, public policy, public affairs, or related fields from a NASPAA-member school are eligible to apply for the fellowship.  The master's degree will have to be completed by August of the year of the fellowship.  Degrees earned the previous year are accepted; degrees completed more than one year before the fellowship application is completed will be considered on a case-by-case basis (email lgmfprogram@icma.org for consideration).

Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible to participate in the Local Government Management Fellowship, applicants must:

  • Be a recent graduate or student enrolled in a public administration, public policy, or related field master's degree program

  • Satisfy all of the requirements for their degree program by August 31 the year of the fellowship.

  • Have no formal local government management work experience*

  • Be eligible to work in the United States

  • Complete the LGMF application by the closing date

*Internships or undergraduate experiences are not considered formal experience for the purpose of this application. The intent is to give individuals with no formal experience an opportunity to have a formal experience in local government and increase their chances of finding a role in local government after the completion of the progam. If you have any questions about this, please email lgmfprogram@icma.org. 

Back to top

Is my school a member of NASPAA?

Applicants can confirm if their school is a NASPAA-member searching their member roster.

Back to top

What are the application and selection deadlines?

The deadlines are listed on the Become a Fellow main page. 

The Advisory Board will review applicant files and notify ICMA of the finalists in February, following the application deadline.  Top-ranked applicants become finalists, with a handful often being added to a finalist wait list depending on number of hosts. All applicants will be notified of a selection decision. 

Finalist applications are then sent to host local governments for consideration. Local governments will contact finalists directly to schedule telephone, video or in-person interviews, typically starting in March. Once hired, fellowship start dates are negotiated between the fellows and host local governments, but generally begin in summer.

Back to top

Do I need letters of recommendation?

Yes, three letters of recommendation are required.  It is recommended that you obtain two letters of recommendation from professors or academic supervisors, and one professional/employer reference. For letters of recommendation, the application will ask you to input the email address of those you are requesting letters from. They will then receive an email to upload the letter directly into the application.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The individuals you have chosen to write your letters will not receive an email until you submit the application. Please encourage the individuals submitting your letters to have their letters ready so that when you submit the application, they can upload the letter right away. We highly suggest submitting the application before the due date so that letters can be submitted by the due date.

Back to top

How should I include my transcripts?

Applicants will upload unofficial transcripts directly to their application online. If you are selected as a finalist, we will notify you of the need to submit your official transcripts. 

Back to top

What kind of work will I do?

The projects are as diverse and large or small as our communities.  Past fellows have worked on such projects as:

• Managing a city's community engagement effort
• Coordinating the development of budget pages for the annual report
• Serving on a task force to analyze and present the results of a citywide employee survey
• Investigating the pros and cons of developing workforce housing as well as neighborhood empowerment
• Participating in the full screening and hiring process for a new chief of police
• Researching and recommendations for creating and funding an assistant county DA position
• Assisting city departments in their results-oriented business planning efforts and development of performance measurement
• Conducting a performance audit of reinventing departments
• Working with the Personnel Department to develop a new policy manual for time and labor practices and mandatory regulations
• Analyzing the economic impact of a proposed conference center
• Conducting background research for a proposed community development district
• Developing of a government-wide training program focused on performance measurement

Back to top

Are individuals required to relocate with each rotation, and how do the rotation assignments work?

While fellows may move to a different department or even a different building within their host government, individuals are not required to move for rotations.  Some fellows stay in the same office space for the duration of their fellowship, while others may move to different facilities.

Rotations are different assignments within the structure of the host government.  For example, a fellow could work in a city or county administrator's office, then work for the manager or one of several city or county departments--public works, human resources, planning and development, etc.  The rotations are intended to expose fellows to the diversity of services in local government and match interests and abilities, and are established and coordinated by the host local government and felloship mentors. 

Back to top

Do I have to relocate for this fellowship, if selected?

Fellowships are available across the country. Most applicants chose to move to take advantage of a fellowship opportunity, but you might find a fellowship nearby. On the application, you may rank areas where you are willing to work or are currently living.  In that case, you will not be considered for other locations and will not need to relocate if selected. Keep in mind if you select one region where we have only one host, your file will be sent to only one host.

Back to top

Is the LGMF Program open to non-U.S. citizens?

Yes, non-U.S. citizens are welcome to apply.  You will need to include proof of eligibility to work in the United States in your application packet. Many international students are eligible to work either while in school, or with a special Optional Practical Training extension of the F-1 Visa. 

Back to top

What other organizations have local government management internships/fellowships?

Many cities and counties across the country have initiated their own fellowship and internship programs, some older than the LGMF. ICMA has a resource area available that lists the jurisdictions that have such programs.  Check out Internships and Fellowships at ICMA's Career Network.

Back to top

How many fellows are placed?

The pilot year of the program was 2004, and six host governments placed fellows. Since then, anywhere from 12-35 have been placed, with a record in 2015 of 46 fellows placed in 32 communities.  We endeavor to place as many fellows as we have host local governments participating in the program. Between 2004 and 2017, 214 fellows have completed the program, about 60 in two-year Fellowships.

Back to top

Where are this year's host local governments?

A list of current and past hosts is available under the Become a Fellow menu, and under LGMF Placement Regions in the right menu. We continuously recruit hosts, and have placed fellows as late as October.

Back to top

What is the typical salary and benefits package for fellows?

LGMF partner organizations recommend to the hiring local government that they pay a minimum of $35,000 one-year, full-time salary including benefits to keep up with current market trends; more in higher cost areas.  For example, the Presidential Management Fellows start at $42,000 in lower cost areas of the country and over $56,000 or more for higher cost areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York City (based on GS9 entry-level PMF rate).  Most positions include benefits, but some local governments may subsidize a fellow's salary for them to purchase their own benefits.  Half of all fellows were offered a raise during the first year of their fellowship.  Some employers are able to offer full benefits, while others can only offer partial.

Consider more than just the numbers: as positions are available nationwide, applicants are encouraged to consider cost of living when negotiating salary--cost of living varies greatly across the country, and a lower salary may actually provide more disposable income in areas with a lower costs of living. Check out a cost-of-living calculator before rejecting a lower salary offer, as the area may offer you more for your dollar.

Back to top

What is the LGMF Advisory Board?

The LGMF Advisory Board, an independent advisory panel of 15 Alumni Fellows, reviews and ranks the applications.  The Advisory Board consists of Alumni Fellows from every ICMA region who are serving in positions from entry and mid-level roles to senior and executive level roles in local government. The Board is an important representation of the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of our current and future Fellows. 

Back to top

Where are finalists' applications sent, and can I rank the local governments I prefer?

Preference information is included in the online application.  Applicants can indicate preference by geographic location (East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, etc.), population size (small town, large city, county, etc.), and areas of professional interest that will help match them to local governments in the pool.  We match applicant preferences with available hosts as closely as possible.  If there are areas of special interest (or areas you want to avoid) please note that in your application.

The applicant pool is competitive, and your application file will be accessible by multiple host governments--local governments will be competing against each other for you! To maximize your competitiveness and opportunity for an interview, it is recommended you be as available as possible. Finalists that selected one region for placement are less likely to find a position.

Back to top

What if I need to leave my fellowship early?

There are a variety of reasons someone may need to end their Fellowship early, including family emergencies, job opportunities, or cultural fit (this just isn't working out). Sometimes the host wants to hire the fellow into a full-time position before the fellowship year is over, sometimes the fellow has an outside opportunity, and sometimes either the Fellow or the host discovers that it's just not the right fit. It's important to make sure your exit is graceful and doesn't harm your professional reputation. Contact ICMA (lgmfprogram@icma.org) or program staff if you need to end your fellowship early. 

Back to top

Other questions?

If you have questions that do not appear here or are not answered in the application, contact ICMA by e-mail at lgmfprogram@icma.org, or by phone at (202) 962-3560.

Back to top