UChicago Public Interest Program

Introduction

Thank you for your interest in the University of Chicago Public Interest Program (UCPIP). UCPIP places recent UChicago graduates in one-year, paid positions at high-impact public interest organizations in Chicago and Washington DC. The UCPIP experience begins with a full-time work placement at one of our partner organizations, which include nonprofit organizations, government agencies, research institutes, schools and education networks, and for-profit companies with a social mission. The program supports the Fellows through professional development seminars and matches each fellow to an alumni mentor who serves as a professional and personal resource throughout the year. About 10% of the University of Chicago’s graduating class applies each year, making the pool of candidates available to our partner organizations exceptionally strong.

To Apply

The first step towards becoming a partner organization is to complete the Partner Organization Application. The second step is to submit a job description to uchicagopip@uchicago.edu

What Can I do with a UCPIP Fellow? 

Organizations can recruit UCPIP Fellows for a wide array of positions. Most positions fall within one or several of the following categories: data analysis, communication, direct service, project management, research, and consulting. Some positions involve direct service, such as managing constituent communications for an alderman’s office, developing a curriculum for a job-readiness program, or tutoring high school students. Other positions may involve developing website and social media content, analyzing and visualizing data, preparing literature reviews, coordinating events, and assisting the executive director of an organization. The common thread is that each UCPIP Fellowship placement provides valuable professional experience while contributing to the public interest.

Benefits to Your Organization 

  • Hire a talented, energetic, and committed UChicago graduate for a full-time role at a reasonable cost
  • Benefit from an expert matching process that helps you effortlessly find the ideal hire
  • Receive increased productivity from your UCPIP Fellows due to their outside support from the UCPIP mentors and professional development programs
  • Form a relationship with the University of Chicago, its graduates, alumni, and other resources
  • Test a new employee through the one-year fellowship before deciding whether to hire on permanently

Examples of Current Partner Organizations 

In selecting placements for the program, we look for high-impact organizations that can provide a Fellow with challenging, meaningful work and attentive supervision. Our partner organizations include nonprofit organizations, government agencies, research institutes, schools and education networks, and for-profit companies with a social mission. Some examples of our current partner organizations are:

  • Chapin Hall
  • Chicago Legal Clinic
  • Hanover Research
  • Civic Consulting Alliance
  • Cook County Bureau of Finance
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Urban Partnership Bank
  • University of Chicago Crime Lab

Financial Commitment 

While it is completely free to utilize UCPIP’s pre-screening and matching services, your partner organization is solely responsible for the cost of the salary and benefits of the Fellows it hires through UCPIP. Partner organizations in Chicago are required to pay Fellows a minimum of $30,000 annually, plus employee benefits. Partner organizations in the Washington DC area are required to pay Fellows a minimum of $34,000 annually, plus employee benefits. Please note that this is the minimum requirement. We ask that our partners compensate their UCPIP Fellows at rates comparable to other employees completing similar tasks.

Matching Process

Our partner organizations benefit from access to a pre-screened pool of highly competitive candidates for open staff positions. UCPIP’s exceptional matching process was developed by a senior HR consultant and is delivered to your public service organization at absolutely no cost.  University staff and alumni volunteers recruit and interview applicants and make matches based on the qualifications of the applicants and the specific needs of each organization. Candidates in the interview packet are matched to organizations based on evaluations of personal core competencies, academic coursework, past work and volunteer experiences, and career interests. We then refer a small handful of qualified candidates to each hiring manager for interviews. These interview packets consist of the candidates’ resumes and cover letters tailored to your organization’s specific position. While hiring managers are under no obligation to extend an offer to UCPIP candidates, they are obligated to extend an interview. It is most common for partner organizations to review 2-3 UCPIP candidates, though the number can be increased upon request.

Sample Timeline

  • December: First Deadline for Partner Organizations to submit Partner Organization Form and Job Description
  • February: Second Deadline for Partner Organizations to submit Partner Organization Form and Job Description
  • January and February: UCPIP staff and alumni read applications, conduct behavioral interviews and determine matches
  • Early March: UCPIP sends partner organizations an interview packet of top two-to-three candidates for each job description
  • March: Organizations contact all finalists and conduct internal hiring process; Matching continues for second round partner organizations
  • Early April: Organizations notify UCPIP staff and all finalists of their hiring decisions
  • May: UCPIP Fellows assigned mentors and are welcomed to Fellowship Program
  • June: Fellows graduate from the University of Chicago
  • Summer: Fellowships begin on date agreed upon between partner organization and Fellow

Contact

For more information about the University of Chicago Public Interest Program, please contact Charlotte Franklin, UCPIP Coordinator, at cfranklin3@uchicago.edu or 773-795-3052.