Entering the workforce as a young professional can be daunting. Many jobs that claim to be entry-level require experience most graduates have not yet had the chance to acquire, and for those who are unsure of their next step, that stage of life can be overwhelming. This is why I want to encourage all rising and recent graduates interested in a career in public service to consider the Ohio Legislative Service Commission (LSC) Fellowship. For those seeking to jumpstart a career, the program offers fulltime employment for 13 months on the front lines of state politics, all the while making lasting connections and gaining skills that will benefit fellows in any future field.
Founded in 1963, the program has produced over 900 alumni, the most famed of which is current Governor of Ohio John Kasich, fellowship class of 1975. The LSC—Ohio’s non-partisan organization for drafting and researching legislation—offers up to 24 positions for fellows. LSC typically takes two fellows to work as fiscal and research staff, places two telecommunications fellows with the Ohio Channel and 20 with the Ohio House or Senate. To be eligible for the legislative fellowship, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, and telecommunications fellows must have a degree from a media or telecommunications-related field. Residents of any state are welcome to apply.
Fellows obtain experience that includes running an office, working with constituent cases, handling schedules, writing press releases and newsletters, and researching policy. They might also attend committee meetings or press conferences. Fellows often say there are no two days alike, as there are always chances to grow and learn something new.
The fellowship is an excellent option for those who desire to begin a career in public service and for those who simply want to better understand state legislature while gaining versatile career skills. The program offers $31,200 per year, with a possible $2,000 bonus, and provides many opportunities to gain experience. Participants benefit from monthly seminars, such as behind-the-scenes tours and meetings at the agencies and organizations they may interact with daily in their office placements.
Fellows will join an extensive network of alumni, forming relationships that last well beyond the program’s 13-month span. I have worked with many current and former fellows during my time in Ohio’s state legislature, and I have seen the ways in which the program shapes and provides footholds for participants. I encourage all to look into the fellowship and to consider joining us in Columbus.
Application packets must be postmarked by April 1. Orientation begins the first week of December, and those graduating that same December are still eligible to apply. Program details are available at www.lsc.ohio.gov/fellowship.