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Governor cuomo launches new initiative for young professionals

Kelsie Bonaparte Special to the AmNews | 2/24/2012, 2:58 p.m.

Any young professionals with an interest in serving in state government now have an outlet in which to build their craft.

Recently, Gov. Andrew M. cuomo launched a two-part program, the New New York leaders initiative, in which young professionals and college students are allowed to learn and serve in the state government.

"We wanted to identify the talented professionals who demonstrate leadership potential and who want to focus their careers on public service," said Alphonso David, deputy secretary at the governor's office.

The New New York leaders initiative is composed of two elements: the Empire State Fellow Program and Student intern Program. Together, the programs invite diversity and focus on young leaders from historically underrepresented communities such as African-Americans, latinos and Asians.

The Empire State Fellow Program is a preparation program designed for professionals to be trained in becoming leading policy makers for the New York State government.

An educational component of the program teaches fellows policy analysis, budget policy, local relationships and other government-related subjects.

Upon completing the program, the fellows will be aware of how state government works and should be fit to work in an agency or working towards an executive position.

There is a also mentorship program where fellows are assigned to work with senior policy makers, commissioners, deputy executives or assistant deputy commissioners who mentor them through the process.

To be a fellow, you must have been out of school for at least three years and have some professional experience. A competitive applicant will have an advanced degree, whether it is a master's or juris doctor degree.

The Student internship Program is relatively different from the fellows program and is designed for college and graduate students interested in state government.

Once accepted into the program, each student will be assigned to an executive branch agency or department. in these facilities, they will be able to have a hands-on experience in networking with government leaders and working to advance the lives of New Yorkers.

To be an intern, you must have good analytic evaluative skills, interpersonal skills and computer skills. The minimum GPA requirement is a 2.5. The internship is usually 12-13 weeks long for a spring or summer term.

"We are trying to identify those who are from unrepresented communities through the demographics of our yearly work force report to come work and be familiar with policy making and the state government. It is unfortunate that there are not a lot of African-Americans, Asians and Latinos in this field," said David.