Fellows in Local Government

Creating Opportunity for the Next Generation of Leaders

Please Note: The Fellows in Local Government program will be temporarily suspended beginning in the summer of 2017 while DHS hosts fellows from Foster America. We are not accepting applications for a 2017 Fellow. We will send an announcement when we resume the program and are accepting applications.

Insight. Scholarship. Action.

The Fellows in Local Government program is looking for motivated and talented individuals with unique human service perspective to shape the work of Allegheny County's Department of Human Services, an agency hailed as a national model for innovative and effective government.

The Fellows program invites recent graduates of bachelor's programs in a variety of human service related fields, whose personal experience includes involvement in a human service system, to join the staff of DHS for a one-year appointment with the hope of igniting a longer-term interest in a career in public service.

Fellows apply their skills and perspective to real-world problems facing DHS and facing the individuals DHS serves. They also have opportunities to build on their existing skill sets and develop new skill sets throughout their employment with DHS. The fellow will receive an assignment in one of the DHS program or support offices and will complete a variety of projects, but the actual scope of work will be determined based on the office assignment and the interests and skill sets of the fellow.

Additionally, the fellow will have access to unique opportunities to meet with DHS senior staff, foundation executives, and nonprofit and private sector leaders, as well as to participate in educational and professional development opportunities. Fellows who complete their commitment, receive a favorable evaluation, and want to continue working at the department will be given special consideration for full-time employment beyond the one-year appointment.

Meet the 2016 Fellow

Jessica McKown, B.A.

Jessica is originally from the South Hills of Pittsburgh. She graduated from Duquesne University with her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Psychology. During her college years, Jessica participated in a Community Engaged Scholar Program which focused on facilitating community service work for Duquesne’s students. She has worked with a number of local providers in this role, such as FOCUS Pittsburgh, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Brashear Association.

Jessica is excited to apply her individual and global outlook on human service issues to local government. She is placed in the Bureau of Homeless Services, in the Office of Community Services, and her projects are related to homeless providers in Allegheny County. This work is in an effort to assure the residents of Allegheny County that the homeless providers deliver the best services as recommended by HUD and the State of Pennsylvania.

Jessica enjoys spending time with family and friends, and likes penguins.


Candidates must have past or current lived experience within a human service system in order to be eligible to apply. In addition, candidates must have received a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as social work, sociology, political science, economics, policy studies, pre-law, business, communications, information technology, accounting, statistics and a variety of other related fields, within the last 18 months of applying. Candidates who have completed education beyond a bachelor's degree are also eligible as long as their bachelor's degree was completed within the last 18 months of applying.

Although there is no city of Pittsburgh residency requirement, candidates must be willing to move to the Pittsburgh region by the summer of their fellowship year. Candidates are from diverse backgrounds and are selected on the basis of a variety of factors, which may include a combination of personal and academic experience, employment or volunteer experience, leadership potential, and commitment to public service. Applicants with disabilities and from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

How Do I Apply?

Note: Applications are not being taken at this time. The program is suspended until further notice.

To be considered for the fellows program, you must provide

  • A fully completed Fellows in Local Government application form
    • The application must be signed, but it can be scanned and emailed
  • Your professional résumé
  • A copy of each application essay, as outlined in the application form
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • One from an academic institution
    • One from an employer, community member or non-academic mentor that can speak to your specific qualifications for the position
    • Note: Letters of recommendation may be submitted via email directly by the recommender. Please provide your recommenders this link to the Fellows Program Contact Form below. Each letter of recommendation sent by mail must be in a separate sealed envelope with the signature of the recommender across the seal.
  • Your official transcript from every post-secondary educational institution you attended
    • Note: All transcripts must be sealed, official and sent by mail directly from the institution. If providing official transcripts poses a significant barrier to completing the application, please contact us at the contact information provided to discuss accommodations.

Most application materials for the Fellows in Local Government program may be submitted by email.

Electronic materials may be emailed to the Fellows Program.

The Decision-making Process

A committee of reviewers from DHS will evaluate all applications. The top candidates will be invited to interview in person at the DHS offices in Pittsburgh in March. The interview process consists of an individual interview before a small panel consisting of DHS staff and community leaders. Applicants are evaluated based upon on the quality and completeness of their application materials as well as their overall performance in the interview process. Candidates will be informed of their status between mid-March and April, and the Fellow will being work in May, June or July.


Questions? Here is a list of frequently asked questions(PDF, 581KB).

You may also email Fellows Program.