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Strong Cities, Strong Communities Fellowship Program

Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative Fellows will be placed in cities around the country and trained to help with local economic revitalization efforts.

Ed. note: This blog is cross-posted from

This summer, the Obama Administration announced the launch of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative.  This new interagency pilot initiative is designed to spark economic growth in local communities while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently.  SC2 will break the federal government out of its traditional roles to partner with local governments more effectively.

As part of this initiative, a new fellowship program will select, train, and place early to mid-career professionals to serve multi-year terms in the cities of Chester, PA; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and New Orleans, LA and assist them in their economic revitalization efforts.  Up to 30 fellows will be deployed to one of these six pilot cities and will be integral to creating partnerships among local community organizations, anchor institutions, businesses, foundations and other government agencies, with the goal of helping to leverage federal investments and increase economic impacts.

Today HUD announced the selection of the German Marshall Fund (GMF) as the recipient of a $2.5 million award to manage the SC2 fellowship program.  The funding is donated by the Rockefeller Foundation. GMF will be responsible for implementing and administering the fellowship program by:

  •  Identifying, selecting and recruiting qualified candidates for the fellowship program;
  • Coordinating with local organizations in each pilot city;
  • Working with each pilot city to ensure that fellows are well integrated within their pilot city and working on strategic projects;
  • Developing orientation materials for fellows entering the program;
  • Developing or applying existing training curriculum that will equip fellows with the fundamental knowledge, tools and skills they would need to be successful in the program; and
  • Identifying additional training and mentoring opportunities fellows may require as they progress through the program.

Once selected and assigned to cities, the SC2 Fellows will take on strategic responsibilities and be immersed in the core operations of the pilot city; engage in peer-to-peer learning opportunities and become active leaders in their pilot city; and be intensely engaged and committed to the redevelopment of the city so that they remain working in the city after the end of the program.

Erica Poething is Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Policy Development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.