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‘PATHWAY TO PUBLIC-SERVICE CAREERS’: Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camilo (left) touts the virtues of the Urban Fellows Program in steering recent college graduates to city-government work , exemplified by Andrea Berger, who called it ‘a formative experience’ in her eventually becoming Senior Counsel at the city Law Department.

The deadline for applying for New York City’s Urban Fellows Program is Jan. 13. The program runs from Sept. 8, 2020 until May 14, 2021.

The nine-month program is for recent college graduates with an interest in how local governmental administration plays a role in education, public health, law enforcement and economic development.

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) administers the program, which pays a $31,563 stipend and provides health-care coverage. There are 25 fellows selected each year.

Some Notable Grads

Former Urban Fellows include Mayor de Blasio; State Senator Kevin Parker; Rachel Van Tosh, Deputy Commissioner for Small Business Services; Andrea Berger, Senior Counsel at the Law Department; Toya Williford, Executive Director of The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City; Jose Jimenez, Assistant Commissioner of DCAS's Office of Citywide Procurement; and Elijah Hutchinson, Vice President of Waterfronts at the Economic Development Commission.

The program, created in 1969, combines placement in mayoral offices and city agencies with volunteer service opportunities and a seminar series.

“The Urban Fellows Program offers a pathway for recent college graduates to enter a career in public service,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “Now more than ever, our city needs bright and talented people who are committed to serving others and making a difference in our communities.”

Ms. Berger said in a phone interview that her participation in the Urban Fellows program in the early 1970s was a “formative experience” that inspired her to pursue a career in public service and go on to get her law degree at Fordham University.

“I was a Fellow from 1973 until 1974, so it was at the end of Mayor Lindsay and at the start of Mayor Beame,” she recalled. She has worked in the administrations of every Mayor since.

Over the years, her assignments included serving as the chief personnel officer for the 911 System and working as a paralegal in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

“I went to law school from 1980 to 1983,” she said. “After I graduated, I went to work in a law firm for four years, but I realized what I really liked was working in government. I was just not interested in which corporation it was that beat out another corporation in the New York State courts.”


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