Kick-Starting a Public Service Career: Fellowship and Internship Opportunities in State and Local Government

Also check out our guide to building a career in the federal government.

Government jobs offer graduates the opportunity to conduct interesting, challenging, and important research on public policy (not to mention perks like relative job stability, health care and retirement benefits, fixed pay scales, and time off). Landing one of these jobs, however, can be tough.

While one way to find a job in New York State government is to search the StateJobsNY website for open positions, the opportunities listed below were specifically created to help students and recent graduates fast-track their careers.

Note: Some of the deadlines listed here have already passed, but the programs are generally offered annually. Check the program websites for updates.

Fellowship Programs


NYSEMPIREEmpire State Fellows Program

  • Fellows work closely with a particular policy-maker within the New York State executive branch.
  • The program also has an educational component: fellows attend a week-long orientation session introducing them to New York State government and attend a two-hour class every other week during their first year in the program.

Basic eligibility: Minimum of three years of professional work experience; advanced degree preferred (any academic discipline). Candidates must be U.S. citizens.

Commitment: Full-time, two-year program beginning in September.

Location: Albany

Compensation: Fellows will receive an annual salary commensurate with experience, not to exceed $72,765, plus a benefits package.

Deadline: late April


New York State Senate Fellowship

senate feelowshipFour types of fellowships are offered by the New York State Senate each year:

  • Legislative Fellows Program (multiple fellowships awarded; fellows are placed in specific Senators’ offices, where they perform policy research, take part in meetings with various interest groups and constituents, and attend legislative sessions)
  • Richard J. Roth Journalism Fellow (1 awarded; fellow is assigned to the Senate Majority Press Office)
  • Wiebe Public Service Fellowship (1 awarded; fellows work in the Majority Counsel/Program Services Office)
  • Biggane Fellowship in Finance (1 awarded; fellows are placed with the Senate Finance Committee)

Basic eligibility: In most cases, fellows must be full-time matriculated graduate students during the immediate previous spring and fall semesters.

Commitment: Full-time, one-year program beginning in September.

Location: Albany

Compensation: $33,000 grant-in-study stipend, plus benefits (health, dental, vision, life insurance, and the New York State retirement program).

Application deadline: late April


New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship Program

Basic eligibility: Fellows must receive their graduate degree (i.e. MPA, MA, MBA) or advanced degree (i.e. JD, PhD) during the academic year prior to starting the Fellowship program.

Commitment: Full-time, two-year fellowship beginning in September.

Location: Some opportunities exist in New York City, but most agency placements are located in Albany.

Compensation: Fellows with less than five years of post-collegiate work experience are paid $55,000 annually; those with five or more years of post-collegiate work experience will earn $60,000 annually.

Deadline: first step of application due late January

Internship Programs


New York State Assembly Internships

Basic eligibility: Matriculated in or have recently completed a graduate degree program. All majors may apply. International students must have academic requirements in the United States to be eligible and the proper work authorization prior to the Internship start date.

Commitment: Full-time, six-month position beginning in January.

Location: Albany

Compensation: $15,000 stipend for graduate scholars.

Deadline: late October


New New York Leaders: The Student Intern Program

  • nnyl-header-leftInterns are assigned to a particular area within an executive branch agency or department.
  • You can view all open positions here.

Basic eligibility: Must be a U.S. Citizen or foreign national eligible to work in the United States, and a currently enrolled graduate student or accepted in a graduate degree program.

Location & Commitment: varies

Compensation: Some internship opportunities are paid.

Deadline: bi-annually


New York City Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs

  • rogowsky-logoInterns serve in the offices of selected city government and public officials. Past placements have ranged from legislative offices to state agencies to non-governmental organizations.
  • Offered through the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.

Basic Eligibility: Students from any major with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Commitment: Students intern 10-15 hours per week for one semester.

Location: NYC

Compensation: CUNY awards $2,000 to each fellow.

Deadline: mid-July


CUNY Women’s Public Service Internship Program

  • Interns serve in the offices of selected legislators working to benefit women and promote women’s issues throughout New York City.
  • Offered through the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.

Basic Eligibility: Students from any major with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Commitment: Students intern 10-15 hours per week for one semester.

Location: NYC

Compensation: CUNY awards $2,000 to each fellow.

Deadline: mid-July


Caucus CUNY Scholars Program

  • Screen shot 2016-03-29 at 12.59.26 PMInterns work in the district offices of New York State legislators who belong to the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus.
  • Intern responsibilities include performing constituent case management and legislative research.
  • Offered through the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.

Basic Eligibility: Students from any major with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Commitment: Students intern 10-15 hours per week for one semester.

Location: NYC and Albany

Compensation: CUNY awards $2,000 to each fellow and covers costs to attend conference in Albany.

Deadline: mid-November


More State and Local Government Opportunities

Like in New York, paid fellowship programs for students and recent graduates are available in many other states and cities. Not all programs require applicants be current residents of that region. Here are a few examples: