Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: February 1, 2021
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Welcomes Applications for Virginia Management Fellows Program

Deadline to apply for 2021-2023 cohort is February 24, 2021

RICHMOND—The application period for the fourth Virginia Management Fellows (VMF) cohort is now open, Governor Northam announced today.

The Commonwealth developed the VMF program, which provides salary and full state benefits, in partnership with the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at Virginia Tech to meet state government’s needs for future leaders. The online application is available here, and the deadline to apply is Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

“Through the Virginia Management Fellows program, we are cultivating a new generation of leaders that will continue our legacy of exceptional public service and good governance,” said Governor Northam. “As previous and current Fellows have demonstrated, this fellowship provides the skills, mentorship opportunities, and leadership and management training necessary to enter state government ready to tackle tough challenges and develop innovative solutions that will improve the lives of Virginians across our Commonwealth.”

The General Assembly approved the learning program, salary, and benefit structure of the VMF. The program is designed to create a succession pipeline for leadership and management jobs in all branches of state government as employees continue to retire. During the two-year fellowship, Fellows will research, study, and understand public administration theories and processes through seminars and lectures designed specifically for the Commonwealth. New this year, Fellows will also take a for-credit graduate level course in public budgeting taught by professors at SPIA in addition to completing a leadership and management development certificate program. 

“The VMF program has proven itself, and our Fellows are thriving in roles across state government,” said Secretary of Administration Grindly Johnson. “Right now, 27 agencies are supporting the VMF program, with more agencies onboarding to meet growing demand. The VMF program and this concept of current leaders preparing the Commonwealth’s future leaders is one of a kind in the United States.”

“The fourth cohort signals the value that state agencies and the General Assembly place on the VMF program,” said Emily Elliott, Director of the Department of Human Resource Management. “Each cohort develops a network of future leaders helping to break down operational silos and create leadership coalitions in the Commonwealth. We look forward to seeing all the great things that our Fellows will do for the people of Virginia.”

“The Virginia Management Fellows program is innovative in its theory-to-practice approach,” said Leisha LaRiviere, VMF Director and Associate Director of SPIA at Virginia Tech. “Fellows develop public service leadership for the Commonwealth through hands-on learning, coursework, mentoring, faculty and practitioner lectures, and small group work. A continuing program element is the “P4” a Public-Private Partnership with a Social Purpose. Fellows research community-based issues, develop alternatives to address issues, design a project to meet defined needs, and fund and implement the project.”

The VMF program is a destination for talent, inclusivity, and excellence that builds on equity and inclusion efforts to address diversity and eliminate disparities in access to state careers. The optimal fourth cohort will be smart, innovative, talented, dedicated, empathetic professionals who are diverse in thought, educational background, experience, education, culture, ethnicity, and place of residence.

Applicants must have graduated on or after May 2018 from an accredited institution with a Bachelor’s degree or demonstrate proof of a May 2021 graduation date. Master’s, JD, or PhD degree holders who completed their studies after May 2018 or are currently enrolled as students in degree-seeking graduate-level programs, are eligible.

To learn more about the VMF program, visit or contact Leisha LaRiviere at

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