Maryland’s Service Year Option Is Up and Running

The inaugural class of Service Year Option fellows was announced on October 27.

Maryland’s new Department of Service and Civic Innovation and the Service Year Option program are now up and running, with the official launch of the program on October 27, 2023.

MACo supported legislation that created both and helped guide county governments looking to host Service Year fellows. The law and program specifically target local governments to host fellows in various fields, providing hands-on experience in public service, strengthening the pipeline to county government, and filling open positions.

Fellows who participate in the program earn at least $15 an hour (the State’s minimum wage) and work at least 30 hours a week for their host. After they complete their service year, they will get an additional $6,000 as a state-funded stipend as a direct payment or deposited into an account for college. Marylanders 18-21 are eligible for the program.

From WTOP:

The program says that students will be placed in a service position that aligns with their area of interest and they will work with support staff to find what they want to do after their service year whether that be college, a career position or more service opportunities.

Key placements include county governments.

Governor Wes Moore launched the inaugural class of service year fellows on October 27 in College Park, saying:

By calling Marylanders to serve — and serve together — we will ensure our citizens develop skills to meet society’s needs. I look on this inaugural cohort and I see courage, compassion, and vision. I am so grateful for your willingness to raise your hands and join this new endeavor. You are the trailblazers who will define not just the future of these programs, but the future trajectory of our state. Service isn’t a vision we claim, it’s a tradition we inherit. Service will save us.

At the MACo Winter Conference session, “Closing the Gap: Filling Vacancies, Fostering Workplace Cohesion,” county and state leaders will examine challenges in hiring and retaining the next generation of county government public servants and how to foster workplace cohesion between the “old” and “new” generations.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: