In addition to their full-time workload, the 2010-11 fellows took on 13 'pro-bono' projects, including reviewing the impact of criminal recidivism and meeting with local neighborhood groups to explain the city's budgeting process and how it affects their groups.For decades, San Francisco's young college graduates had shunned municipal work, and in 2005, 43 percent of the city's workforce was older than 50. In 2007, a city study showed that 36 percent of management-level employees would be eligible to retire within five years, representing a looming brain drain that could inhibit the city's and county's ability to function, much less to innovate. To implement intelligent and intentional workforce and succession planning, and to build continued workforce excellence, the San Francisco Department of Human Resources made a concerted effort to recruit and develop a new generation of talent.

That effort is City Hall Fellows-San Francisco, an innovative public-private partnership that recruits and trains educated, public service-minded young workers — specifically recent college graduates — for the city and county of San Francisco. The third year of the program, which was completed in July 2011, combined a one-year full-time job within a city department with a 300-hour curriculum that taught fellows how to initiate, pursue, implement and manage municipal policies and programs in San Francisco.

"The program delivers top talent who, as a result of their experience in San Francisco, are inspired to pursue careers in local government," says Corina Monzon, project manager in San Francisco's City Performance Unit. For instance, one woman who worked with Monzon stayed with the city after her fellowship to work on immigrant affairs, language access and community engagement. Another fellow who worked with Monzon analyzed safety on the Municipal Railway, San Francisco's public transportation system, and developed a database that the police department uses to monitor crime on the system to deploy officers more effectively. Other former fellows now work with a local consulting firm that contracts with the city and other local governments analyzing data and performing evaluations, and with the Public Utilities Commission on disaster preparedness and security policy.

"The [City Hall Fellows] bring exceptional analytical and critical thinking skills along with passion for service, optimism and great enthusiasm," Monzon says. "Local government is where policy development, analysis and implementation come together in the interest of the public good. The City Hall Fellows program furthers this important work by motivating the next generation of leaders to apply their talents to local government service."

Since 2008, 37 City Hall Fellows have worked more than 40,000 hours inside city departments on high-need, high-impact projects. And 65 percent have continued working in local public service after their fellowships ended.