Lead for North Carolina helps launch NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps

The state seal of North Carolina and the Lead for North Carolina logo

An effort led by the Office of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and supported by Lead for North Carolina (LFNC) at the UNC School of Government is matching North Carolina college students in need of work experience with local governments and nonprofits seeking additional help to support COVID-19 response efforts.

Summer jobs and internships were a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic for many North Carolina students. At the same time, many local governments and nonprofits find themselves in need of assistance as they respond to the pandemic’s impact in their communities.

The NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps has placed more than 80 North Carolina college students in positions with local government agencies and nonprofits across the state—nearly all of which are virtual.

“It is exciting to partner with the Governor’s Office to pull together this opportunity for students to share their talents with local governments and nonprofits across North Carolina,” said Mike Smith, dean of the School of Government. “It is a wonderful idea that happened quickly because many people made it a priority. We hope the students have a great experience and consider pursuing public service as Fellows in Lead for North Carolina and other programs focused on careers in public service.

A key partner in the project’s creation, LFNC assisted with recruitment, training, and ongoing support for program participants.

"Spearheading the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps is a natural extension of Lead for North Carolina's mission,” said LFNC Director Dylan Russell. “It sits at the nexus of students wishing to make a difference in local communities and public organizations trying to maintain normal operations while responding to a global pandemic.”

Lead for North Carolina aims to recruit, train, and place the state’s most promising young leaders in paid local government fellowships as a means of strengthening public institutions, supporting local communities, and cultivating a new generation of public service leaders. As part of its recruitment efforts, LFNC partnered with all 16 UNC System schools to find and place interns in high-impact positions in local governments and nonprofits across the state.

LFNC also sponsored a free two-day bootcamp on June 10–11 with more than 300 registrants from students across the state. The training event included sessions with School faculty members and outside speakers on local government and nonprofit operations, public sector communications, professional research, grant writing, and more. LFNC will continue to provide ongoing educational opportunities, including a speaker series with representatives from state government and the public and private sector.

This initiative is led by the NC Strategic Partnerships team, an effort within the Office of State Budget and Management to build partnerships between government, universities, philanthropy, and the private sector. Joining LFNC in support of this effort are Hometown Strong, the NC Association of County Commissioners, the NC League of Municipalities, the NC Rural Center, and several institutions of higher education. 

A list of current internship opportunities is available in the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps Database.

For more information on the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps initiative, please contact Caroline Tervo at covidinterns@osbm.nc.gov

To learn more about LFNC’s mission and fellows, click here.