Developing Leaders in Rockingham County

Rockingham County's motto is "You're in a Good Place" and their county government works hard to live up to the distinction. For the past few years, Rockingham County has partnered with the UNC School of Government’s Lead for North Carolina (LFNC) program to place young people in high-impact fellowships in their county government office.  

“The LFNC program has been phenomenal for Rockingham County,” said County Manager Lance Metzler. “The relationship has been fantastic. The quality of fellows that we get have been superb.”  

In August 2022, Olivia Leggett, Erin Marie Anderson, and Nina Worth began their work in the office of the assistant county manager as Fellows supporting the community.  

The county looks to LFNC to provide fellows that are talentedeager to learn about local government, and ready to help transform communities for the better. 

“The Fellows do a lot of work that provides information for our community,” said Metzler. “They are able to learn about all aspects of local government while they provide many deliverables that make our county impressive to others. Many of their deliverables are for public consumption.”  

Leggett, Anderson, and Worth worked on a variety of projects for the county, including creating a department performance review report, administering and analyzing a county-wide employee survey, updating the county government website, working on the budget, and assisting with employee morale initiatives and research projects. “Every day was different and everyday I was presented with new challenges,” said Worth.  

The county works hard to provide learning experiences for the fellows and to make them feel part of the team. “We often give them tasks to challenge them, and they are able to step up and handle any challenge that we provide,said Metzler. Through their experiential work with the county office, the Fellows gained valuable knowledge, skills, and insight into local government that have shaped the next steps in their career. 

I never imagined I would leave undergrad to go to work in local government in Rockingham County of all places. But I could not be more glad I did,” said Worth. Now, having completed her fellowship, Worth is attending law school at the University of Virginia. I had a lot to learn, and they invested in me in a way I value at such an early stage of my career,” she said. 

For Erin Anderson, the experience boosted her confidence in her professional abilities. I learned that I am definitely capable of taking on big projects that might seem intimidating at first,” she said. Having completed her time with LFNC, Anderson is currently interning at a consulting firm working on land use planning and zoning code updates, and has finished her first year in UNC’s master’s program for city and regional planning. 

“Each Fellow has their niche and expertise that they bring to the organization,” said Metzler. “UNC vets their students to offer the best for each community. We have had great success.”