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Lead for North Carolina (LFNC) is the first state affiliate program of Lead for America. It is being run by the UNC Chapel Hill School of Government (SOG), in partnership with the NC City and County Managers Association (NCCCMA), NC League of Municipalities (NCLM), and NC Association of County Commissioners (NCACC).

The goal of LFNC is to implement a fellowship program for recent college graduates that:

  1. Provides added capacity to economically distressed local governments across the state that have difficulty attracting and retaining talented young employees;
  2. Serves as a bridge between local governments (specifically in economically depressed communities or communities with special needs) and the School of Government and professional associations;
  3. Increases the diversity within local governments to better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve;
  4. Creates a pipeline to MPA and other graduate programs in NC;
  5. Fosters the development of young talent in local governments across NC, particularly in areas that have historically (or are projected to have) a difficult time attracting and retaining sufficient talent; and
  6. Promotes a greater sense of civic responsibility and encourages fellows to leave the fellowship with a deeper appreciation and dedication to their personal communities and our civic institutions.

Through the LFNC program, fellows will gain a new perspective and appreciation of local government, understand the most pressing issues facing our communities, establish relationships with partner universities and organizations, and gain opportunities to engage with a growing alumni network of similarly minded individuals.


Meet the Host Governments for our Third Cohort and their proposed work scope! Please note, the work scope may change based off the candidate’s strengths and the needs of the jurisdiction.



Apex has adopted its first affordable housing plan. The town is looking to commit considerable resources to implement initiatives and programs to continue its commitment to be the peak of good living for everyone. Support from a LFNC Fellow would provide the town additional capacity in its housing, community outreach, and neighborhood improvement efforts while providing the fellow with valuable experience in an increasingly important field and exposure to local government. This position will assist in planning, organizing, and facilitating the implementation of town affordable housing initiatives while also providing community outreach, research, and analytical support for town community development and neighborhood improvement programs. The LFNC Fellow would support the town’s Housing Programs Manager specifically in the following areas:

  • Building and strengthening nonprofit partner capacity, lenders, and other partners as necessary to support implementation of recommended programs and policy
  • Developing programs and identifying strategies to ensure successful implementation of affordable housing and CDBG activities
  • Providing logistics and technical support for community programs, marketing and outreach, and education initiatives
  • Assisting with content development and communication material preparation and distribution
  • Ensuring that affordable housing residents have access to Town programs
  • Connecting residents in need with support and assistance programs of the Town and outside agencies

Archer Lodge is building their first parks and recs facility with the help of an PARTF grant. The fellow could see first-hand the construction process and help with the set up of that department, including the eventual staffing and implementing a volunteer management system.

Archer Lodge is also in the beginning phase of pursuing sewer utilities for the town. The fellow would be instrumental in the system development process and with grant writing knowledge to pursue funding. The fellow will also work on the new planning and permit software to enhance customer assistance digitally. 

The Ashe County Fellow will work on a range of projects including:

  • Recreation and Tourism Development which include further development of opportunities in Lansing, Warrensville and along the New River.
  • Economic Development Opportunities which include continued development and marketing of the County’s industrial park and business recruitment in Jefferson.
  • Redevelopment and planning for of a soon to be vacated middle school in Warrensville.
  • Technical assistance for the Town of Lansing in development of future strategic needs including expansion of the park, development of WIFI in the park, budgeting, planning, and developing a business association.

Ayden, is a Main Street Community that does not yet have a Main Street Manager.  Those duties have been largely assumed by the Planning Director.  Since we have not had a dedicated staff person for Main Street the program has lagged.  Nonetheless we continue to get strong investment in our downtown…we are primed to get more.  The Ayden Fellow would be our Downtown Main Street Manager and would work on inspiring placemaking through building asset-based economic development strategies that achieve measurable results such as investment, business growth, and jobs. 

During their most strategic planning session the Biscoe Town Council decided to add a few components that will allow us to further reach our citizens and increase quality of life for our residents. The Town has budgeted to add a part-time recreation program director for summer programs/camps, funded a community policing council, and established a new planning and zoning board to complete the Town’s unified development ordinance and future land use plan. The Biscoe Fellow will help us with community engagement, respond to citizens in addition to helping these various departments with the goals and visions they have set. Biscoe is a great learning opportunity for someone who is interested in making positive change in local government.

The LFNC Fellow in Edgecombe County will work on developing a more effective community outreach and engagement model with our citizens. The goal of this position is to mitigate complaints that citizens don’t know of certain services we offer or missed notices through traditional media outlets. Edgecombe is a rural county where communication faces several barriers. Our LFNC Fellow will increase governmental transparency and make sure residents are aware of exciting developments within the County.

The City organization is in transition on multiple facets, including City Administration and leadership vision. Included with the new framework is an effort to rebrand, expose and highlight our achievements, educate our community, and counter growing apathy for local government by providing citizens increased access to government. The City Manager expects to increase our social media presence and the attractiveness of Elizabeth City to developers. Having our next generation of leaders help develop the framework, images and messaging is paramount. The City envisions the fellow working with the City Manager and other organization team members to achieve the four-point objective.

The Downtown Development Department (DDD) plays a significant role in transforming the community – creating vibrancy and opportunity through economic development efforts in and around the downtown area. Working within the framework of the National Main Street program, the DDD and non-profit partner, the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation, have realized a 4:1 return on City investment from state, federal and private sources since 2013. Many of the major investments in our downtown have been made at the core of the Commercial Business District. Our desire is to expand these efforts in a meaningful and transformative way. Three focus areas include comprehensive economic development planning, marketing an area south of the commercial core for private sector, medium density residential development, and advancement of a long-standing neighborhood improvement plan in surrounding historic neighborhoods. The Downtown Development Department of the City of Goldsboro is applying to host an LFNC Fellow to assist with the following tasks, based on the focus areas above:

  • Working with the EDA to secure an economic development plan for the City through grant writing.
  • Assist in securing an investor for development of the 400 block of S. Center Street. Assist with a selection process that includes an RFP. (Timing will dictate the Fellow’s participating in the selection process)
  • Assist in addressing affordability and availability of residential product in the context of the City’s Neighborhood Plan.

Hyde County is in the process of upgrading our Finance Office software to OpenGov. This upgrade is past due with our current software and processes being archaic. The Hyde County Fellow would work with our IT Director, Finance Director and other Department Heads on this transformative project to redesign the business processes for the Hyde County Government in conjunction with the software implementation and training.

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments Fellow will implement a regional food policy adopted in the fall of 2020. Some projects include:

  • Completing a regional food system assessment that provides a clear cataloging of resources, gaps, insights and opportunities for the food council, the COG and area governments.
  • Adoption of county or municipal plans that reference this regional strategy for local food system development.
  • Developing local food councils that will be guiding implementation of the food policy’s recommendations, along with addressing challenges and opportunities related to our region’s food system.
  • Other projects could include: Grant research and grant writing for the COG and/or local governments in the Kerr-Tar region and planning and follow-up related to equity and diversity training for local elected officials.

The Kinston Fellow will update Kinston’s American Disability Act (ADA) policy. Our fellow will also work with City Engineering and Risk Management. Provide a scope of work as well as a timeline for areas that need improvement. 

The fellow will also update and developing Kinston’s annual employee training. Training topics include: harassment, workplace violence, etc, in a web based structure or classroom structure depending on the audience. The fellow will also be responsible for updating the onboarding program to assist in inclusive measures for new employees to help acclimate them to the culture and provide accurate and detailed information. 

Finally, our Fellow will assist with electronic filing/saving of personnel files and/or condense files and store in controlled environment. 

McDowell County has four programs that are classified as enterprise funds:  water, solid waste, transit, and an industrial facility.  The goal of an enterprise fund is to operate a program on at least a break-even basis so that these functions have minimal impact to the county general fund.  

Each fund needs focus in regards to operational/capital as well as financial needs.  

The selected Fellow will have an opportunity to work with county staff in each program area to learn the operations inside and out.  Once there is an understanding of the operation, the Fellow will work with pertinent staff (department heads as well as the Finance Director and County Manager) to help prepare capital improvement plans, financial reports, and other areas of need (such as grants) for each program.  

The fellow will also have an opportunity to experience other aspects of county government through in-person immersion (ride along with EMS, garbage truck driver, etc.) as well as meetings with County Commissioners and other county officials.

North Wilkesboro (NW) is a small town with limited professional staff. The NW Fellow will become the town’s budget analyst. A lot of the projects our elected officials hope to accomplish move at a snail’s pace because we don’t have the capacity to do much analysis on the cost. Budget work is traditionally the gateway to careers in municipal management. 

Our proposed scope would also include researching outside funding possibilities, preparing grant applications, developing performance measures, and other activities traditionally delegated to a budget analyst.

I also foresee the Fellow working on special projects, which at the moment include:

  • Helping create an outdoor/recreation-based economy
  • A large brownfield building in need of demolition
  • The creation and implementation of an ADA plan
  • Preliminary work on the possible reorganization of NW Fire Department

The Norwood Fellow will work with our Downtown Revitalization Project. Norwood is ripe for an explosion of growth. Norwood is a perfect model and microcosm for development on the largest scale. Norwood is in a Tier 2 County but is among the poorer towns. However, we have the lion’s share of lake frontage on Lake Tillery. Our downtown is very walkable. Our town is easily drivable to the Charlotte area. Highway 24/27 is widening. The time is now, the future is bright.

As Town Administrator for Norwood, I am responsible for a full-service town replete with our own water supply, water treatment plant, sewer treatment plant, police, and twenty-three employees. I am also involved with the largest water project in the state. Couple this with a major sewer treatment plant overhaul, an ambitious sewer rehabilitation program, both with accompanying state loans, ad nauseum. Norwood is also coming into the 21st Century so I am also crafting policies and procedures. And last, but certainly not least, Norwood has been on the LGC’s watch list for years before I came in as town administrator.

So, here is where our fellow comes in. The right person for this job can make a huge impact in assisting in procuring funding for our downtown development, mostly grants. Revitalizing downtown is the starting point for my overall economic smart growth plan that will culminate in Norwood being a premiere small town with a resort flavor, great downtown destination point, extremely walkable, and a very high quality of life. What I need at this point for my plans to materialize is a hard-working, committed, smart, fellow. So, what do you say?

PTRC has been a local leader around the merging of health and human services to connect at-risk individuals to health and social services and improve their health and social outcomes. This work has only accelerated as a result of our community’s response to COVID. At first, PTRC mobilized its resources to help with local mask distribution to marginalized communities and to help businesses with workplace trainings. More recently, we are organizing vaccinations for homebound seniors. Our history of support for a network of funded partners who are providing direct human services has earned us a role with our area health systems to continue to serve local residents as more and more initiatives are designed to address social health needs.

PTRC could benefit from placing a Lead for North Carolina (LFNC) Fellow in our newly created Community Hub. The Community Hub seeks to address the growing demand from health systems, payers (insurance companies and DHHS), aging programs, public health, and local governments to address non-medical interventions that are drivers of medical spending. Several near term opportunities the LFNC Fellow will support include:

  • PTRC’s Healthy Opportunities Lead Pilot Entity (LPE) application under the NCDHHS Medicaid Managed Care which creates an opportunity for payers, providers, and human service organizations (HSOs, e.g., community-based organizations (CBO) or social service agencies) to have the tools, infrastructure, and financing to integrate non-medical services directly linked to health outcomes into the delivery of care for a subset of eligible Medicaid Members; and
  • PTRC’s Network Lead Entity (NLE) application under the Administration for Community Living (ACL) that seeks to work in partnership with a variety of CBOs across a geography to provide a centralized, coordinated model for service provision, administrative functions, and quality improvement. The collective network should have the ability to provide a range of services, including evidence-based falls prevention programs. The network should also include state level partnerships (i.e., State Units on Aging, Public Health, etc.), local level partnerships (i.e., AAAs, Centers for Independent Living, etc.), and strategic engagement of health care entities.
  • A fellow will also work on PTRC’s NCQA Population Health Program Accreditation for the Community Hub and closely support PTRC’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Accreditation will help PTRC AAA align their operations with industry’s best population health management practices. Having a solid population health strategy reassures organizations and employers that they can monitor and address opportunities and challenges in their populations. The fellow will work under the guidance of a nationally recognized consultant as PTRC, as well as other NC AAA’s around the state, obtains our NCQA accreditation.

We are a town of only 300 in a Tier One County, and suffered major devastation by Hurricane Florence. 70-75 businesses and residences received from 4″ to 21′ of water. There are no businesses in Town. The Post Office recently opened after being closed for 394 days. With only part-time staff and a plethora of challenges — and thankfully some successful grant applications – we have a lot going on and need assistance in coordinating and supporting these efforts while providing vision for new ways to re-imagine ourselves after our significant loss from the flood. Based on a grant from the NCORR, we do have funds to sustain this position for a year or longer.

Specific projects requiring assistance: continue working with engineers and architects as we restore our flooded Town Hall and elevate flooded infrastructure; work with FEMA representatives on these projects which have not yet closed; work with GLF and NCORR officials on these projects, since these agencies are providing the cash-flow loans until FEMA reimburses; work with engineers on the recently awarded CDBG-NR grant; work with engineers on a major $2 million CDBG-I grant which has been combined with a $3 million Clean Water Grant, which will replace our sewer lagoon; continue work with Town officials and NC State University/CDDL on our downtown revitalization grant; seeking grants to help implement all of the above; continue the development of a new town website (funded thru CARES money) and town notification system; assistance with implementation of a new Zoning Ordinance (required by NCGS 160-D); assistance is helping reconstruct our records — most all of which were washed away in the flood waters; quite frankly, the list goes on and on.

Budget Preparation

  • The fellow will assist in preparing the budget and work closely with the Manager and Assistant Manager. Fellow will have several departments assigned to them and learn how to analyze and recommend budgets.

Consolidation and Digitization of all County Policies and Codes

  • Fellow will work with all department heads to collect existing policies and create a digital way to display them for internal/external viewing as appropriate.

Employee Survey

  • The County regularly conducts an employee survey to determine current strengths and weaknesses. The fellow will take the lead on this project and present the results to the County Manager.

Assist with County COVID-19 Efforts

  • If COVID-19 efforts are still widely underway, the Fellow will be an important part of the County’s COVID response team and be a part of the continual decision-making process.

Assist Departments with Projects

  • Many projects and potential service improvements across all departments have been delayed due to COVID-19. The fellow will serve as a resource for these departments as we hopefully move closer to normalcy.

Website/Social Media Content and Enhancements

  • The current fellow has done a terrific job helping the County to revamp its outdated website. This new site will be launched shortly, but an incoming fellow will help with keeping content on this site up to date and engaging, as well as reviewing our social media presence and making suggestions for improvements. Serve generally as an analytical and professional resource for all departments.

Our proposed fellow will work primarily on initiatives undertaken by the City to increase the supply of safe, modern, and affordable housing for residents in need. The fellow will work alongside City staff to develop and implement plans and initiatives to encourage affordable housing development across the City. In addition, the fellow may have the opportunity to work on other City-organized community development initiatives.

The Town of Spencer has emerged from several years of transition in the organization’s elected and appointed leadership and is moving forward with exciting plans for the community. Some major current projects include a roughly $3 million upfit of a vacant shopping center for the new Town Hall and Police Department, administering $750,000 of CDBG neighborhood revitalization funding, and planning several million dollars’ worth of park, trail, and greenway improvements. The Town of Spencer seeks an LFNC Fellow who could help with several transformational needs, such as: developing a partnership with local businesses and visitor attractions to enhance communication, attract investment, and collaborate on events; enhancing our budget and capital improvement planning– including evaluating alternative revenue options; enhancing the Town’s communication and outreach strategies; evaluating/developing Continuity of Operations and other key internal planning/procedures.

The LFNC Fellow will work with the Public Works Department, with the following primary tasks:

  • Stormwater grant research and application
  • ADA Compliance documentation
  • Adopt-A-Street program implementation
  • Traffic Calming program research and implementation
  • Utilities (water and sewer) grant research and application
  • Growth impact/planning assessments
  • Contract preparation and administration

Triangle J Council of Government’s (TJCOG) serves 46 member governments that span across a seven-county region. Three of the region’s counties (Durham, Orange, and Wake) are classified as urban, while four are identified as rural (Chatham, Johnston, Lee, and Moore). Within our rural counties we have many municipalities that either lack a planner and/or town manager or, have a part-time planner/town manager that does not have enough capacity to fulfill all of the community’s needs regarding development, zoning, and future planning efforts. With that said, the fellow will serve as an extension to at least two communities, Pine Level and Princeton, both located in Johnston County. The fellow will act as both community’s part-time planner for a pre-selected number of hours per week (more than likely 10-12 hours in each community per week). He or she will provide day-to-day planning technical services that both Pine Level and Princeton need to for daily operations and to prepare for future growth. A planner at TJCOG will serve as the fellow’s mentor by assisting with onboarding, providing oversight through weekly check-ins, and by conducting site visits throughout the 12-months to work with the fellow in the communities, increase knowledge, and confidence. Services the fellow will provide include administration of zoning (interpretation and regulation) and subdivision ordinances, land use requests, reviewing of permit applications, site visits, ordinance preparation and revisions, conduct special studies and research complex planning problems, serve as technical support to various town boards, among a plethora of other planning-related services. The fellow will help identify where these communities most need assistance as the town continues to expect growth over the next few years. If the selected fellow has GIS skills that would be a bonus but not necessarily a requirement. The fellow will also provide planning technical assistance in other regional rural communities as needed. This may include code enforcement, planning-related services mentioned above and other financial, operational, and administrative tasks as requested. Any remaining time that the fellow has available will be used to build TJCOG’s in-house capacity with COVID recovery related projects supported by CARES Act funding through the Economic Development Administration in addition to grant administration. 

A vehicle is required for travel.

Fellow’s Role – Parks and Recreation Director with duties and goals being:

  • Establishment of a true/professional parks and recreation department
  • Creation of Asset inventory, maintenance schedule, and budget of true operational and maintenance costs
  • Creation of a Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan – 2 yr, 5yr, 10 yr plan
  • Planning, funding, creation of new or expanded park facilities
  • GPS mapping of all town parks and trails for map creation
  • Scheduling of staff hours
  • Scheduling and facility preparation for youth leagues and tournaments
  • Creation of policies that focus on promotion, marketing, customer service
  • Creation of a Marketing and Economic Development plan, which utilizes the town’s recreation assets and those of the Uwharrie Mountains (1.4 million visits a year) as an economic catalyst for the town and county.

The County Manager’s Office is a dynamic workplace providing leadership on several priorities impacting the community and our workforce. Three potential projects include: 

County Manager David Ellis has decided that now is the time for our organization to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Participate in the implementation of a disparity study and review consultant findings. Collaborate with senior staff to find ways to increase opportunities for minority-owned and historically underutilized companies seeking to do business with Wake County.

Wake County’s Community Capital grant program provides $500,000 each year to support facility and infrastructure investments that address critical county-wide issues. Recipients are identified through a competitive process, with the next process beginning later this year. Support an Assistant County Manager in implementing this year’s cycle, develop evaluation criteria, coordinate conversations with potential community partners, and develop a multi-year recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. 

Actively participate in the creation of a new performance measurement system. Work with the Strategic Performance Director, analysts, and departments to identify, define, and evaluate key performance indicators. Conduct research on best-practice and industry benchmarks. Develop reports and reporting schedules that summarize key indicators for elected officials and improve public-facing dashboards.

Washington County has a wide array of both short- and longer-term projects that are readily available for a Fellow to join or lead depending upon interest and skill assessment. Projects include:

  • Economic Development Projects
    • Marketing & Incentivizing the Lease/Sale of a 25,000sf shell building
    • Potential establishment of a local ED committee and/or strategic plan
    • ED grant writing/administration.
  • Facilitation of a Citizen’s Academy and/or Human Relations Council
  • Water System capital planning and expansion projects/grants
  • Post 2020 Census Redistricting
  • Personnel/Internal Employment Policy Review/Revisions
  • Recreation Programming: Short Term, Long Term Plan,
  • Potential Grant Applications/Admin
    • Facilities renovation/relocation project coordination including potential construction of new consolidated public safety/911/forestry/aviation/economic development facility

The Wilson Fellow will assist with the following projects:

  • Co-manage the Human Relations Awards Ceremony
  • Build relationships with community partners to promote a culture of unity and progress in Wilson
  • Assist the staff in interpretation of laws and regulations regarding fair housing and discrimination
  • Assist with reviewing the department’s vision and policies. Possibility of complete ownership in crafting new policies for the department
  • Possibility of complete ownership in planning and executing small community events
  • The role can be tailored to fit the strengths of the candidate in Wilson