Students interested in a career in planning or policy relating to transportation, infrastructure, capital programs or operations should consider applying to the Port Authority Leadership Fellows program. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey oversees the airports in the New York City region, the World Trade Center, and the bus terminal in New York City. It is a self-supporting agency, so all funding comes from the use of the facilities.
Michelle Mayer MCRP/MPP ‘17 was selected as a Port Authority Leadership Fellow after graduation, and came to the Bloustein School in October to share her experience since being accepted and explain to graduate students what the position has entailed.
In the Leadership Fellows program, there is a strong public service focus giving fellows a broad experience across agency lines and staff departments. There are approximately four rotational assignments over the course of 24 months. With successful completion, there is the opportunity for permanent placement in the Authority at a variety of departments. Michelle is currently in a rotation at Operations Services which provides service to the rest of the agency. One of the things she is learning about is how the Central Automotive Division provides and maintains all vehicles for the whole agency, in addition to employing their own plumbers, electricians, and police services.
The Port Authority also offers the Operations Fellow program. Similar to the Leadership Fellow Program there are four rotations to experience different positions, but all the positions remain in one specific department. Both programs look for candidates who show strong skills in communication, adaptability and flexibility, creativity and problem solving. They both provide fellows access to senior executives through networking sessions, facility visits and mentoring or one on one coaching sessions.
To prepare for this program, students should make sure they feel confident in their Excel skills, and know how to visually interpret and represent data. Michelle recommends taking courses in Big Data, Conflict Resolution, Managing People and Organizations as well as studios or a practicum to get project management experience.
To be considered for the 2018 Leadership Fellow program, students must be graduating in the fall 2017 semester or in spring 2018. To apply go to http://www.panynj.gov/careers/ and search for Leadership Fellows. Applications are due December 1st. Interviews will be held January through February and offers are typically extended in March. First-year students or those who are not interested in the Fellows Programs may also visit the website for internship opportunities.