Launching a Pilot



Once you have the core pieces of your Pipeline thought-out, it is time to pull everything together into a pilot that you can launch!

This pilot is your opportunity to test a small version of the Pipeline in order to discover what works well and what does not, and then make changes before you scale-up the program to full-size.






Timeline


Although the best time to launch a pilot is during the summer—so that you can easily recruit the majority of graduating seniors—you can also consider launching a pilot mid-year to recruit winter graduates as well as recent graduates from the prior academic year.

In either case, major milestones include:

  • Completing design of all program processes and training materials
  • Recruitment and selection of department placements
  • Recruitment and selection of applicants
  • Matching selected applicants to placements
  • Start of program

Meeting all of these milestones after finalizing the partnership behind the Pipeline will likely take at least six months, if not longer!



Recruitment


Government internship and fellowship programs have notoriously bland recruitment materials. This new program is an amazing opportunity to take inspiration from how leading non-profit fellowships recruit graduating seniors!

Read Tools for Government Hiring, then check out these non-profit programs for inspiration:



Evaluation


One of those important parts of any pilot is evaluation. Capture as much data—quantitative AND qualitative—as you can to help tell a compelling story to stakeholders, as well as to identify opportunities to improve your program as you scale up. Consider both long-term and short-term evaluation strategies!

Long-term evaluation might include a baseline survey before the start of the program to capture how confident participants feel about different skills, their thoughts about working in government, and any goals they have for themselves. Conduct mid-term and post-program surveys to see how these items change as a result of participating in the program.

Short-term or "continuous" evaluation might include a monthly survey that participants complete to gauge their ongoing feelings about their program experience and to identify new opportunities to support their success.


Case Study: New York City


Since the City of New York received permission to have 100 placements in their new civil service title, the maximum size of any cohort could be fifty participants per year. The City received this news towards the end of the summer in 2019. As a result, the next opportunity to launch a pilot would be after the winter semester. The City of New York launched their first pilot cohort of the Civil Service Pathways Fellowship in January 2019, followed by the second in June 2019.

The first cohort ultimately included eighteen participants placed at the City departments in charge of social services, jails, education, procurement, utilities, health, and transportation. The second cohort included thirty participants at some of these same departments, as well as new ones who had heard about this exciting initiative!

As of the writing of this playbook, the first cohort is still in the Fellowship and has not moved on to permanent roles. This playbook will be updated as soon as outcome data is available!