Late last year the Durham County Manager’s Office approached UNC ICMA about using the Chapter as a focus group for some ideas they had about attracting young, fresh out of graduate school students in the area. Outwardly, our response was, “Yes, that would be a good fit for our monthly meeting,” but inwardly I thought, “ABSOLUTELY! What a unique and interesting opportunity for the chapter.”

Drew Cummings, Durham County Assistant Manager, and Michael Davis, Durham County Strategic Initiative Manager and UNC MPA Alum, visited the School of Government to get our perspective on some ideas they had for new positions targeted for recent graduates. Drew and Michael were exploring how they could create a team of recent graduates in Durham County that would lead the way in implementing the County’s new business model, ‘Managing for Results’. Their idea was to create a ‘Management Analyst Corps’, which would follow a cohort-model and be comprised of recent graduates of nearby universities, including UNC’s MPA program.

To fill in the gaps of their business model, Drew and Michael’s idea was simple. Create a small, tight-knit group of analysts to be curious and investigate ways to improve the organization. The analysts would serve as the conduit between the managers and the workers:

Durham ChartSince these are the types of jobs that members of our Student Chapter are interested in, it goes without saying that the discussion was very engaging. As Drew and Michael facilitated the conversation, the Chapter began testing some of their assumptions and bringing new ideas to the table for them to consider. Chapter members asked things like, “How would this be different from a fellowship?”, “How will the corps work with each other?”, and “Will there be a diversity of experiences?” This cross-pollination of ideas was exciting to watch. Though it’s not clear if Durham County will create the ‘Management Analyst Corps’ yet, it was a good exercise for students to take the time and seriously think about what they want out of their next job after graduation.

For more information about Durham County’s new business model, ‘Managing for Results’, click here: http://strategicplan.dconc.gov/