About the Fellowship

The fellowship transforms government from the inside out. Code for America fellows spend 11 months collaborating with government staff, researching user needs, meeting with key stakeholders, and building technology for needs from signing up for food assistance to starting a business to navigating the court system.

While the product of the fellowship is typically an early stage application that improves the delivery of a government service or function, the process acts as a vehicle for driving cultural and structural change inside of government — encouraging innovation, improving tolerance for risk, and increasing the capacity for transparency and engagement.

In 2017, we're looking to partner with local government agencies at the city, county, state, and tribal levels to redesign services that fall within three areas: healthy communitieseconomic development, and safety & justice. We're interested in partners that want to measurably improve the delivery of a key service that they provide to the public.

Who the Fellows are

  • Experienced, mid-career professionals from companies ranging from Google, Apple, and Rackspace to startups, government, and nonprofits
  • Highly sought-after engineers, designers, researcher, and project managers; Code for America typically selects just 3-5% of fellowship applicants
  • Passionate about applying user-centered, iterative, data-driven approaches to community challenges; fellows consider this a year of giving back and serving the public

Our approach

At Code for America, we value learning by doing. Our Communities of Practice work on applied problems together, share what they are learning with one another, and create a network of support for the adoption of 21st century practices like user-centered design or iterative development. 

User-Centered Design. We conduct user research in order to understand needs, and test hypotheses at all stages of development. This is a powerful and accessible practice leveraging the expertise of the government staff who work on the program and residents who use it.

Iterative Development. Our fellows practice an iterative approach to product development (also called lean or agile), characterized by short development cycles (1-4 weeks) and using data and user feedback to continuously improve. 

Open Source. All of our code is open source and available on GitHub, an online repository for open-source projects. We’re happy to help you get up to speed. We take security very seriously at Code for America. Personal data and information that is not for public consumption will be stored on secure servers.

Partnership details

What makes a good government partner

  • Partners committed to delivering public services so well, they were previously unimaginable
  • Partners dedicated to services that are simple, effective, and easy to use, especially for residents and businesses who rely on those services most
  • Partners who exhibit strong leadership, are committed to being engaged, and will sustain the work after the fellowship ends

Cost of the Fellowship

Code for America is able to heavily subsidize the cost of a fellowship through partnerships with corporate, institutional, and individual funders. Partners will be responsible for less than 50% of the total cost, or $250,000. Governments can work with local businesses, philanthropists and other funders to offset that cost.

Apply to become a government partner

We are not taking applications for new government partner at this time. If you are interested in partnering with us, please sign up for the Code for America newsletter. This will keep you informed and we will announce when applications for government partners reopen.