The prestigious Tennessee Governor’s Management Fellowship is awarded to exceptional applicants who wish to serve and learn with the state of Tennessee’s top executive leaders. The nonpartisan program offers a competitive salary and is open to recent college graduates demonstrating outstanding academic achievement, a genuine passion for serving their community, remarkable character, and leadership abilities.

These talented and highly-motivated individuals are awarded the unique opportunity to spend two years working full-time for senior and top-ranking government officials. Fellows will be oriented in state government by spending the first six to nine months of the fellowship working with the Office of Customer Focused Government. The enterprise-wide initiatives that fellows will support are focused exclusively on identifying and producing measurable improvements in the state’s operations.

After their time in Customer Focused Government, fellows will coordinate with the leadership in a department to identify opportunities to work on impactful projects within an individual cabinet-level department. This department placement is conducted through a mutual selection and proposal process and is based on the personal interests and skills of the fellow. For the remainder of the fellowship, fellows will work closely with commissioners and executive level leadership to affect systemic change in enterprise or departmental operations, as well as understand policy issues and support specific program areas.  At the same time, fellows will participate in an accelerated leadership development program, learning with other executive branch leaders, and have opportunities to attend events with the state’s top private and public sector leaders.

The fellowship program’s mission is to recruit exceptional leaders into the executive branch of state government in order to provide aspiring professionals with significant responsibilities and the opportunity to serve and learn with the state’s top executive leaders. The fellowship will infuse state government with enthusiastic and talented recent graduates, committed to making Tennessee a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

The fellowship is focused on improving operational efficiency and effectiveness in state government. Please note, this is not a policy focused fellowship.

Eligibility is merit-based, will have demonstrated excellence in academics, proven leadership ability, involvement in extracurricular activities, and a commitment to public service.

Applicants must have graduated from an undergraduate institution or graduate program between May 2022 and August 2024, and are chosen without regard to race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or political affiliation. Individual questions on eligibility can be directed to tn.fellows@tn.gov.

The Executive Committee is responsible for interviewing finalists and recommending the individuals it deems most qualified for appointment to the fellowship. The Fellows Executive Committee is a bipartisan commission composed of Tennessee’s most prominent public and private-sector leaders, representing a broad range of backgrounds and professions.

The fellowship program is two years long and begins in August every other year (2018, 2020, etc.).

December 1, 2023 - February 1, 2024, at 6:00 PM EST: Application Period – Application becomes available on December 1, 2023 and will remain open until February 1, 2024, at 6:00 PM EDT. All components (including letters of recommendation) of the application must be submitted by this time in order for applications to be considered.

Mid-February: Phone interview offers extended.

Late February: Initial phone interviews conducted, finalists announced.

Mid/Late March: Final interviews of the 10 finalists conducted by the Fellows Executive Committee in Nashville.

March: Final offers are extended to a maximum of 5 individuals.

August: Fellowship begins.


*Schedule is subject to change.

A maximum of five candidates will be awarded fellowships.

Yes. Fellows are considered full-time state employees and will receive a $55,000 base salary (Pay for Performance eligible) and benefits.

No. Fellows are responsible for their own housing arrangements. 


No. However, to be eligible for the fellowship, candidates must have graduated from an undergraduate institution or graduate program between May 2022 and August 2024. Individual questions on eligibility can be directed to tn.fellows@tn.gov.

No. Fellowships are awarded on a nonpartisan basis. The Fellows Executive Committee is bipartisan and will reward the best and brightest candidates, regardless of their political affiliation

Applications will be made available beginning December 1, 2023 and can be accessed online by selecting “Apply Now” on the fellowship’s home page. The online application requires a resume, cover letter, unofficial transcript(s), and two letters of recommendation scanned and uploaded as PDF files. Official transcripts may be requested at a later date.

Dual enrollment transcripts from high school are not necessary. Transcripts that reflect courses that were taken at a community college or alternative school are not required unless the coursework is not reflected on your final undergraduate transcript. Additional questions can be referred to tn.fellows@tn.gov.

Applicants who have recently completed graduate programs must upload a final, unofficial undergraduate transcript in addition to their final, unofficial graduate school transcript. 

Letters must be submitted by selecting “For Recommenders” on the fellowship’s homepage. Applicants will not be able to read the letters, but will receive an e-mail once their application is complete and both letters of recommendation are received.  Additional guidelines for what content should be included in your letter of recommendation can be found on the “For Recommenders” page.  Authenticity of your recommendation letters may be verified later. 

Please note: You are responsible for communicating these instructions to both of your recommenders and ensuring that letters are submitted by the application deadline, February 1, 2024 at 6:00 PM EST. If both of your letters of recommendation are not received by this time, your application will be deemed incomplete, and you will not be considered for the fellowship.

Recommendation letters should reveal information about you that is not necessarily included in your application. It is best to have recommendations from people who know you well; a recommendation from a prominent individual is not helpful if he or she does not personally know you.

It is suggested that one recommendation be from someone who can speak to your academic or professional competence and another be from someone with knowledge of your extracurricular, community, and/or civic activities.

Additional guidelines for what content should be included in your letter of recommendation can be found on the “For Recommenders” page.

Letters should not exceed one single-spaced page.

All travel expenses will be covered for applicants who are accepted to the final round of interviews.  More specific details will be communicated to those who are accepted for final interviews.

After Acceptance

Fellows are oriented to state government during the first few months of the fellowship  Orientation includes a "crash course" in government management, an overview of the governor’s priorities and those of each department, a team-building retreat, an introduction to the governor, his staff, and all cabinet members, an exposure to both statewide and department-specific initiatives, and individual projects.

The leadership development program is one year and will consist of periodic summits with rising leaders in state government from each of the 23 departments.  During these summits you will master competencies that are key for leadership development. 

Fellows are placed in one of Tennessee’s 23 cabinet level departments based on both the preferences of the fellow and the needs of each department.   Once placed in the department, fellows will work closely with the commissioner and his/her executive leadership team on department initiatives of importance to the commissioner.

Being a Governor’s Fellow is a prestigious honor and a full-time commitment. As part of a distinguished group of future leaders, fellows are expected to work hard, fully engage in their work placement, and take advantage of the opportunities available to them as they serve at the top level of state government.

Yes. However, a job offer is not guaranteed at the end of the two-year fellowship.

More questions? Please e-mail us at tn.fellows@tn.gov and view our informational webinar (below).