Start Your Career in California Government Through the Capital Fellows Program

Do you want to work for the California state assembly, governor, state court administration, or in the California senate? You can do so in your first job out of law school through the Capital Fellows Program. Sacramento State’s Center for California Studies administers four fellowship programs in California government including:

The Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship, where 18 individuals are selected to participate in the program. The 11-month fellowship provides an introduction to public policy formation and adoption in the California Legislature through full-time work as a professional legislative staff member.

The Executive Fellowship,  where executive Fellows function as full-time professional staff in executive offices at various levels of California’s executive branch which includes the office of the governor, constitutional offices, cabinet secretaries, commissions and departments.

The Judicial Administration Fellowship Program, where ten Fellows work in courts across California, gaining direct experience in the management of a complex and changing court environment. Courts do much more than adjudicate cases. In the service of promoting access to justice for everyone, Judicial Fellows are exposed to the management and/or development of a variety of court programs and departments, multi-million dollar budgets, policy, and other managerial tasks. The special challenge of court administration is to manage these functions in ways that preserve judicial independence and ensure the efficient and fair administration of the law

The California Senate Fellows Program, where Fellows get placed in a paid, full-time legislative staff position in the State Capitol for 11 months. Fellows are assigned to the offices of a senator or policy committee and work as part of the public policy staff team in the Capitol.

Fellows in each program work for 10 – 11 months, receive health benefits and a monthly stipend of $2,627, student loan deferment, and are employees of Sacramento State. They work as full-time members of a legislative, executive, or judicial branch office, and are typically given assignments with a significant amount of responsibility and challenges. Fellows also enroll as graduate students at Sacramento State and receive graduate units from the Sacramento State Government Department or Public Policy and Administration Program.  The enrollment fees are paid by the programs.

The application period is not open yet but last year, applications were due in early February with invitations to interview being sent in April. Keep an eye out for the application to be released around January on the fellowship website and reach out to a CDO counselor if you want help preparing your application.

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