FELPS Program Description

The Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service is a premier cross-sector leadership development program for early-career public service professionals in New York City.

FELPS is intentionally designed for communities of color and works to support the dismantling of oppressive systems that operate in the public service space. The FELPS curriculum was modified, beginning with the 2021 Fellowship, to give it an explicitly anti-racist and intersectional focus with race and identity centered in sessions. 

Through the fellowship, a diverse group of approximately 25 emerging leaders each year gain valuable experience and exposure to a range of career exploration activities that will help them define their public service path. Monthly activities consist of two to three evening or weekend sessions, as well as social events and community service activities organized by Fellows.

The FELPS framework guides its fellows through their career development process by asking these four questions:

  • Why public service? FELPS aims to reenergize the fellows' initial choice to enter public service while encouraging them to examine their short, medium, and long-term commitment to the sector while balancing other life goals.
  • What's in my leadership toolbox? FELPS assists fellows in obtaining a clearer assessment of their assets, knowledge base, and skill sets. With this assessment of their personal "tools" fellows have a greater ability to identify opportunities to deepen these competencies at work and in their lives.
  • Who's in my network? Beginning with their peers, Fellows develop a wider network of relationships and a greater ability to tap those relationships to further their work and career goals.
  • What's my career map? Semi-monthly fellows meetings and guidance from Career Guides (established professionals in various public service professions) help the fellows gain a more robust understanding of the multifaceted and complex terrain of public service.

What Fellows Have Said about the Program

"The fellowship experience exposed me to people who were just assuming leadership roles within public services as well as those that had impressive legacies of reforming institutions and building organizations from the ground up. It was inspiring to see people who had sustained their commitment throughout their careers and to learn what kept them committed to such a challenging and initially difficult-to-navigate field."

"The fellowship not only provided me with the means to think about my career, but it also connected me to people who shared my passion for policy and social justice. It's great to be able to come to a place and connect to people on many different levels."

"FELPS gave me the much needed space to be thoughtful about what I want out of life. It was a gift and a powerful experience. I hope that this self-reflection and the perspective it yields will remain a part of my practice for years to come."

"Participating in the fellowship not only gave me the chance to explore opportunities in public service, but also allowed me to meet like-minded young professionals who helped to reaffirm my commitment to serving others. In FELPS, the question everyone asks is not, 'Should I serve?' but rather, 'How can I serve most effectively?'"