JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An historic initiative backed by the Mayor, Jacksonville University and key black community advocates will offer future African-American leaders a two-year JU Master in Public Policy scholarship, a city internship and job placement help that keeps their vision and talent in the community to address critical regional challenges.
The Master in Public Policy Minority Fellowship Program, announced Thursday, Feb. 15, will provide two full-tuition scholarships per year worth a total of $40,000 to qualified minority applicants to obtain a coveted MPP at Jacksonville University – the only such degree offered in Florida. It will also offer a City of Jacksonville internship, industry networking and mentoring opportunities, and assistance in job search and career preparation. (Program details below.)
“This city is committed to this program and committed to these internships for the direction we are going,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said at a news event at JU to announce the program that was attended by local civic leaders and other dignitaries. “It is a wonderful thing: a double-down commitment for the future, and I am honored and so proud of our city.”
The unique concept will afford the most talented black graduate students a chance to earn the prestigious degree that provides broad exposure to national, regional and local public policy issues and prepares them to lead while creating diverse employment opportunities in the public, private and non-profit sectors.
“This is a stellar example of a real partnership of impact between this University, community leaders and City of Jacksonville leadership,” said JU President Tim Cost. “We are trying new things at JU … and we are coming together for a school program for a city that we believe can be a shining example of integrated learning and integrated leading.”
On hand were members of the new JU Public Policy Institute MPP Minority Fellowship Program Advisory Board, who have a passion to enhance opportunities for African-American graduates, and who with Public Policy Institute Director Rick Mullaney will seek and recommend Fellowship applicants and develop a mentorship plan.
Among other high-profile leaders present from the board were Edward Waters College President and former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover Jr., Jacksonville Director of Community Affairs Dr. Charles Moreland, Jacksonville Transportation Authority Chief Executive Nat Ford and former CSX Technology Inc. President and JU Trustee Charles Wodehouse.
“It is so important that we keep the best talent here in Jacksonville, the best and brightest, and this program will facilitate that,” Glover said. “You will come into this Public Policy program at JU, and by getting the basics, an opportunity to work in the Mayor’s office, to network to let people see you, that steep learning curve almost levels it out. That’s going to be a big deal in Jacksonville.”
Glover stressed the importance of the large contingent of African-American leaders who are in or were formerly in public service locally, including a former mayor, sheriff, chairman of the JAX Chamber, a current head of the JTA and many others.
“Think about it: the young people entering into this program can look up and say, ‘I can be that.’ ... Jacksonville is special, and this program will do nothing less than accentuate that, and keep our best and brightest home.”
The MPP Minority Fellowship Program is a result of the vision of Wodehouse, who has generously agreed to provide initial six-figure funding to support the program. Jacksonville University and the MPP Fellowship Advisory Board are committed to soliciting additional funds to enhance and expand the program.
Many of Jacksonville’s best young African-American men and women who are interested in political or other public service jobs may not ordinarily think of a JU PPI master’s degree as a pathway to prepare for their careers, Wodehouse said. The idea for the PPI fellowships is to “widen the net” to more non-traditional candidates, who will obtain the type of credentials vital to success in leadership.
“Wouldn’t it be helpful to have evidence in the form of a degree and a completed internship to distinguish yourself and show you have mastered the critical subjects contained in the PPI curriculum?” he said. “The PPI Master in Public Policy has great potential to create a new generation of leaders, and the scholarship makes it available to anyone who qualifies, not just those who can afford it or have the available time.”
Each year, the newly selected honorees will receive a scholarship that covers tuition for two years of the Master in Public Policy program; an annual stipend; a City of Jacksonville internship after the first year of the degree program; an opportunity to meet and mentor with industry and policy leaders at the Institute, as well as invitations to Institute, Jacksonville University and area public policy events; and specialized job placement in Jacksonville after graduation.
Those interested in more details or how to apply for the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute Master in Public Policy Minority Fellowship Program should visit https://www.ju.edu/publicpolicy/admissions/how-to-apply.php or contact MPP Program Manager Amy Lane at email@example.com, (904) 256-7452.