Applications for New Fellowship Class are Now Open

Fellowship Recruitment FAQs and a Word From Our Recruitment Chairs!

Applications for the new Work First fellowship class opened up on September 5th! We are excited to hear from students of diverse backgrounds on why you want to be a fellow with the Work First Foundation. We understand the process of applying for a job can be quite nerve wrecking and can leave a lot of unanswered questions. We have compiled a list of FAQs from previous fellows to help future fellows navigate the process with a little more ease. Following the FAQs, is a word from our Work First Fellowship Recruitment Chairs to discuss what they’re most excited about throughout this application process!


What kind of students is the fellowship directed towards?

The Work First Fellowship recruits young professionals with a strong academic background who are interested in becoming involved with public policy. Top candidates are driven, innovative thinkers striving to affect change. Previous research experience is beneficial, along with experience working with disadvantaged groups. It is also helpful for candidates to have previous teaching and/or case management experience, though it is not required and training will be provided. There is no one size fits all for the fellowship, and in fact, we look for a range of candidates interested in a variety of issues, coming from a range of backgrounds.  Ultimately, this is fellowship is a service year, and thus the ideal fellow will be committed to uplifting lives of others.

If I apply to a certain site, are my chances of getting an offer better? When is the best time to apply?

Candidates should apply to the site they are most interested in living and working in. In the NYC offices, fellows work more as trainers.  Fellows in other cities focus more on case work. Candidates should consider the skill-sets required for various sites when applying and during the interview process.  Furthermore, if the fellowship feels a candidate would be best suited for a specific site, we will let the candidate know. The best time to start applying is now! We are already beginning the interview process and will be making offers on a rolling basis.

What kind of research background is helpful going into this fellowship?

Research backgrounds vary drastically between fellows.  This means that it is up to the candidate to demonstrate how their particular background is applicable to the fellowship.  That being said, research involving public policy and quantitative data collection is most easily tied to the researched conducted during the fellowship.

What is the main objective of this fellowship? Why is our role important?

The fellowship offers an insider perspective of how public policy functions on a day-to-day basis.  Fellows are given the opportunity to combine policy research regarding poverty and unemployment while also working directly with clients that are currently on public assistance.  In tying this two aspects together, fellows are able to think more dynamically and pragmatically about government assistance and the associated policies.  Our job is to think both big-picture and small-picture at the same time. We think about the systemic barriers and our clients as individuals. Fellows work one-on-one with individuals living below the poverty level to help them find employment and get back on their feet, while also conducting policy research on effective job placement programs. Every day, fellows are impacting lives and learning from their interactions with clients.  This service year trains future leaders and policy-makers to think on a macro- and micro-level in addressing the challenges facing our nation.

What skills will I gain after I complete my year with the fellowship?

The Work First Fellowship teaches fellows both hard and soft skills.  Fellows gain skills in public speaking, quantitative and qualitative research, teaching or case management, and interpersonal skills.  They also improve themselves as leaders, advocates, and professionals.

What have previous fellows pursued career/school wise after their year with The Work First Foundation?

Previous fellows have gone down a wide range of career paths.  Some have chosen to go to graduate school, medical school, or law school after the fellowship, while others have pursued careers in the public and private sector. This fellowship is a great stepping stone regardless of long term goals.  It is truly in the hands of the individual fellow to make the most of their time here and to utilize the various professional development opportunities offered to them.

What are the living and travel arrangements like?

Fellows are not provided with living arrangements, however, they are given a competitive salary for a fellowship. Travel expenses will be covered for fellowship activities, such as orientation and the Fellowship Research Symposium in NYC. Previous fellowship classes have arranged a fellows’ weekend as a professional development activity in Washington DC. Furthermore, NYC fellows are offered pre-tax transit cards.

Wanting to Apply

The application can be found here!

Still looking for more information about each site?

One of our 2018-2019 Recruitment Chairs, Ilana, talks a little bit about what she looks for when talking to applicants.

“When I am considering candidates for the fellowship, I am always thinking about my clients.  The relationships we are able to build with clients as fellows is perhaps the most rewarding aspects of the fellowship.  One of the incoming fellows will be taking my spot at the Brooklyn office and will be working with these clients. I want to do right by my clients in selecting the incoming fellowship class because I know just how imperative every interactions can be and the power fellows have to make a difference. My clients push me every single day to think differently, to reconsider preconceived notions, to be the most genuine version of myself.  I owe it to them to make sure that whoever takes my spot will thrive in the role.”

Our clients are our number one priority with The Work First Foundation. We want to make sure the incoming fellowship class have strengths in empathy, fairness, equity and justice. We look forward to hearing from all the accomplished students that may cross our path.