Some PWE’s (Professional Work Experiences) around Town

Occasionally, we like to feature current MPA students who are in the midst of completing the Professional Work Experience component of the program.  Our PWE’s are similar to an internship except we ensure your projects and duties are 100% leadership oriented because that’s what our program is about .  

This blog post was written by current MPA student Sa’metria Jones about her Professional Work Experience (PWE).  Sa’metria lives a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, currently residing in Clayton, North Carolina, and is a current MPA student in our online format.  She works full time in the North Carolina Office of the Governor as a Policy Advisor.  She is planning to graduate this December.

I am working with the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) to fulfill my PWE hours for the MPA program. NCBCE is a non-profit organization that operates out of the Office of the Governor and serves as link for North Carolina employers and the education system. NCBCE invests significant time and resources to develop and promote work-based learning initiatives in North Carolina. In early 2020, pre-pandemic and before our lives changed, NCBCE, in partnership with the North Carolina Community Colleges, the Office of the Governor, myFutureNC, and the state Division of Workforce Solutions, launched NC Career Launch—an effort to increase post-secondary attainment and connect students to jobs in high-demand fields. Unfortunately, the pandemic interrupted the initiative’s momentum.  I am working with the Executive Director of NCBCE to elevate NC Career Launch and restore the pre-pandemic momentum. One way we are working to accomplish this goal is by developing youth apprenticeship programs to pilot under NC Career Launch.

For my day job, I work as a Policy Advisor in the North Carolina Office of the Governor. I have a far-reaching policy portfolio that touches several state agencies. Although NCBCE is housed in the Governor’s Office, it functions as its own nonprofit organization. In addition to program development, I thought it would be great to have practical experience working directly with an executive director to learn the ins and outs of nonprofit work. As a state employee and a student completing my PWE with a nonprofit, I have been able to see how the structure of both organizations can either help or hinder progress. In addition to that realization, I have also learned how nonprofits leverage their stakeholders, board members, and flexibility to make connections and promote their initiatives. It has also been rewarding to experience how innovative, proactive, and forward-thinking nonprofit leaders are, and effectively have to be, to accomplish their goals.

My professional and academic background is in law and policy– all in the public sector. However, my experience with NCBCE is unlike one I have had before and compliments my background well. I am unsure of which route I will to take in the future, but I am grateful to have the opportunity to explore the nonprofit world and how it interacts with state and local government.

Stay tuned for more guest bloggers talking about their PWE experiences this semester!

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