This past year, over 8,000 members of Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) chose to start receiving benefits. This is a 44% increase compared to 2010 retirements, and the second highest in PERS history.
But this isn’t even the most striking figure from the report. In the January 18, 2012 Oregonian, Ted Sickinger stated that one-third of those still working in state and local government are already eligible to retire based on their age or accumulated years of service.
The risks of a looming, mass exodus of knowledgeable and experienced public employees are certainly considerable. However, this also presents an amazing opportunity for a new generation of men and women embarking on public service careers.
That’s why it’s a particular apt time for the Center for Public Service to launch an exciting new initiative: the Mark. O Hatfield Resident Fellows Program.
This new program is in addition to the Oregon Fellows Program, which we have offered for some time, and both compose our Next Generation Initiative to address succession planning and to develop opportunities for future leaders.
Between now and late February, we are recruiting recent master’s and Ph.D. graduates from PSU and more than 30 other participating universities across the U.S. Once chosen, through a highly competitive process, an estimated 10-15 Fellows will enroll as post-baccalaureate students at PSU, and then be placed with participating sponsors for a 12-month Fellowship.
It’s an exceptional opportunity for the Fellows to continue their education, while exploring how best to start a public service career here in Oregon. And from our experience with the existing Oregon Fellows Program, involving 10-week stints mid-way through their degree program, many Fellows already have long-standing Oregon ties, and are eager to return to this great State.
For Sponsors it’s also an exceptional opportunity to work with talented men and women who are on track for strong public leadership careers. Since PSU is responsible for paying participants a stipend, Sponsors are able to participate in the program through an intergovernmental agreement with the Center.
These are certainly challenging, rapidly changing times in our public service sector. And it’s worth noting that a half century ago, Senator Mark Hatfield decided to leave Oregon and pursue a master’s degree in political science from Stanford University.
Keeping – and repatriating – talented Oregonians eager to serve in the years ahead is in all of our best interest. Contact us today to learn more about how your organization can benefit from the year-long Hatfield Fellows or 10-week Oregon Fellows programs.