Policy Apprenticeship Overview

Jefferson Memorial with Cherry Blossom tree framing

Overview and Guidance for Policy Apprenticeship Employers

LBJ DC Concentration Graduate Degree Overview

The LBJ School of Public Affairs gives select students the extraordinary opportunity to simultaneously engage in public policy work and earn a professional graduate school degree through its specialized DC Concentration. LBJ DC Fellows, have two full-degree options: Master of Public Affairs or Master of Global Policy Studies.

After two semesters (fall, spring) of intensive policy coursework in Austin, DC Fellows then move to Washington, DC for two semesters (summer, fall) to continue their studies during evenings and Fridays at the LBJ Washington Center, while also undertaking six-month Policy Apprenticeships with a DC-based public or private policy organization. More substantive and longer in duration than a traditional internship, the Policy Apprenticeship program includes only professionally trained graduate students with a demonstrated commitment to pursuing policy careers in the nation’s capital. DC Fellows are available for both longer and more sophisticated assignments.

The goal of this unique 15-month federal public policy concentration is to transition graduate students into the DC policy workforce a full semester earlier than traditional public policy programs, prepared better both academically and professionally for the unique DC federal policy environment.

The six-month, 32-hours-per-week (Monday–Thursday) Policy Apprenticeships commence in late May/early June and end in December.

Policy Apprenticeships: Objectives and Prospective Employer Guidance

LBJ DC Fellows arrive in Washington, DC after successfully completing a year of rigorous graduate-school training in advanced policy development and analysis, economics, analytical and quantitative methodologies, policy writing, and public financial management. Moreover, they embark upon their Policy Apprenticeships with an established set of professional workplace skills, including workload and time management, professional work ethic, initiative and networking capacities, experience collaborating with other policy professionals, and practiced oral and written communications abilities that include briefing and presentation training. They are ready from day one to contribute to organization-critical tasks.

The objectives of the Policy Apprenticeships include:

  • Continued professional development of the analytical and managerial skills acquired during the first year of LBJ School training.
  • Mentoring, networking and other activities that help lead to post-graduate career opportunities and enduring professional relationships in Washington, DC.
  • Exposure to working almost full-time in a policy field related to the DC Fellow’s career aspirations in Washington, DC, including interaction with decision-makers, observation of organizational processes, and execution of policy tasks.
  • The potential (without any upfront expectation or commitment) for a future full-time employment relationship with the sponsoring organization.

Policy Apprenticeship supervisors should strive to give DC Fellows substantive written, oral, and analytical policy tasks and workplace experiences that help them meet these objectives.

Policy Apprenticeships: Administrative Process and Evaluation

The administrative aspects of hosting an LBJ DC Fellow are minimal. Each potential host organization completes a brief online LBJ School Policy Apprenticeship approval form outlining a proposed position; then the LBJ Washington Center executive director reviews the position with the designated supervisor before approving it.

Twice during the six-month Policy Apprenticeship, the director gives employment supervisors an online Policy Apprentice evaluation form to complete. DC Fellows complete self-evaluations about how the Policy Apprenticeship enhances professional academic and workforce skills and furthers their ability to work in Washington, DC.

DC Fellows earn academic credit toward their graduate degree and are evaluated based on:

  • the director’s interaction with the employment supervisor and DC Fellow during the Policy Apprenticeship;
  • supervisor evaluations;
  • self-evaluations, and
  • the DC Fellow’s weekly online Policy Apprenticeship journals.

Policy Apprenticeships: Compensation

Most Policy Apprenticeships are paid positions, reflecting employers' recognition that well-trained graduate students are valuable. Compensation will vary depending on the organization and policy sector.

Host a Policy Apprentice

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