General Fellowship FAQ's
Q: How many fellows will be selected?
A: 15 fellows will be selected for year-long placements in both 2014 and 2015.
Q: Why only one year?
A: During the planning process, we considered multiple options for the length of the fellowship program. Some focus group participants stressed that 18-24 month placements were too long, while others stressed that 12 months were too short. After consulting with other fellowship programs, as well as national and community foundations, the conclusion was that a 12-month placement best represented the interests of next generation leaders.
Q: What does a cross-sector placement look like on the ground?
A: A cross-sector placement may look many ways. For instance, in WV, a community foundation and local hospital are partnering to create a local food system. Or in Western NC, a government agency, a non-profit, and university could partner to develop a solar energy project. There are many cross-sector relationships already happening across the region, but there have not been enough resources to accelerate them. The fellowship creates this opportunity. The management team will work closely with hosts as they develop: 1) a scope of work for their fellow; and 2) a Memorandum of Understanding between each other and the fellow.
Q: Why are fellows meeting once a month for trainings? It seems ambitious and time-intensive.
A: During our best practices research, we found that once-a-month trainings are common around the country for several reasons: 1) many organizations found that while new employees had educational requirements, they often lacked critical skills; 2) it is expensive to train these new employees; and 3) emerging leaders value skill-training opportunities, which increases their marketability in today's tumultuous economy.
Q. Is there a fee to apply?
A. There is no fee for potential community hosts or fellows to apply
Q. How are Fellows paid?
A. Fellows will be paid a monthly stipend by the Highlander Research and Education Center which is taxable as income. Highlander and the host communities, with support from funders, share the stipend costs. Federal or state taxes will not be withheld; fellows will be responsible for paying their own estimated taxes. Fellows will receive a 1099-MISC form at the end of each calendar year to report the income. Highlander can, if fellows request, hold back the amount for federal and state taxes. Highlander will also provide educational support for fellows around tax preparation.
Host Community FAQ's
Q: What is the application process?
A: The 2014-15 application period is closed, and the 2015-16 application period will open in 2015. An initial application form was completed by all community partners, via our website, by November 27, 2013. Once received, each community of organizations and institutions was contacted for a follow-up site visit.
Q: Is it the responsibility of the host to create and submit the application and find partners?
A: Yes, we ask potential hosts to submit a "Community Host Application," on www.appfellowship.org. Here, potential hosts will outline their initial concept or project for the fellowship. If selected, the management team will work with the host community to develop a more defined scope of work during an extensive planning process.
Q: What is the selection process?
A: After receipt of the application, the management team will contact the primary institutional contact to schedule a face-to-face site visit with all participating institutions. These calls and meetings for 2014-15 were held between December 15, 2013 - January 24, 2014. Host communities were notified of their official selection by the beginning of February 2014. Selection of community hosts was determined by the Management Team, with advisement from the Resource Team.
Q: What are the criteria for selection of host communities?
A: The selection is based upon the following criteria:
- The host community partnership is between a cross-sectoral network or two or three cross-sectoral institutions (i.e. business, educational institutions, non-profit, philanthropy and government).
- The projects selected for the fellowship are within the sectors of renewable energy/energy efficiency, local food systems, health, entrepreneurship and other promising sectors that support the economic, political, social, environmental, and cultural transition of the region
- Enthusiasm for supporting and encouraging the skills of emerging leaders
- Interest in developing sustainable and just economic development programs within Central Appalachia
- Proven ability to work well with others on collective visions and goals
- Commitment to having and maintaining an equitable and inclusive work environment
- Clear understanding of their community and the issues they are committed to impacting
- Capacity to financially support half of the fellow's salary at $12,000 or secure the funding from an outside source
Q: Who is responsible for recruiting fellows?
A: The management team is responsible for recruitment, however, if host communities have a potential candidate in mind, hosts are encouraged to ask them to apply, and notify the management team of this preference.
Q: How will fellows be selected?
A: Host communities interview the top 3 candidates for their site. They selected a fellow by the end of March 2014.
Q. Who is responsible for securing and paying for the fellow's housing?
A. It is ultimately up to the fellow to pay for housing. However, we ask the community hosts to help locate housing for the fellows since they might be new to the area.
Q: Who is responsible for covering additional costs such as travel for trainings?
A: The management team will cover gas costs for all trainings and gatherings. However, if host communities have the resources to sponsor their fellows, we kindly ask they please do so!
Q: What is the financial commitment of host communities?
A: We are asking host communities to contribute half, or $12,000, of the fellows' salary. Travel costs will be covered by AppFellows. Host communities should to be able to demonstrate their process or plan for securing the resources. The first installment of $3,000 is due before the fellowship starts to ensure that the fellow will not be placed in a community without the funds for the first quarter.
Q: How is my organization supposed to cover half of the fellows' salary?
A: AppFellows is not asking for the financial commitment for a fellow to fall on one organization. Ideally, each host institution/organization will contribute a fraction of the $12,000. If one institution/organization has the resources to cover the costs of a fellow, then we encourage them to do so. We also recommend host communities partner with community foundations to support this cost.
Q: What is the process for host communities paying half of the salary?
A: There are three payment options for host communities: A. Pay entire $12,000 at the beginning of May. B. Pay two installments of $6,000 at the beginning of May and November. C. Pay four installments of $3,000 at the beginning of May, August, November and February.
Q: Are hosts required to attend monthly trainings?
A: No. Hosts are only required to attend quarterly gatherings, but are welcome to lend their expertise to monthly trainings, in partnership with the management team.
Q. What is the best part of being selected to become a fellow?
A. As a fellow you will increase organizational and leadership skills through organizational and individual projects, and you will expand your network throughout the Central Appalachian region and other parts of the country.
Q: Does the fellowship pay a stipend?
A: The fellowship provides a 12-month stipend of $24,000.
Q. Are there other benefits such as vacation, sick days and health insurance?
A. Fellows are provided with the 10 basic holidays and 5 days of paid time off to be negotiated with the host community. Fellows will have the opportunity to receive $200/month for a health stipend out of a pool of money set aside for fellows that do not already have health insurance or support. We want to offer health care support while also understanding that changes have been made nationally to health insurance coverage and fellows are 1099-MISC contractors.
Q: Does AppFellows provide housing?
A: Housing arrangements are the responsibility of the fellow. Fellows serving in their home communities would not be required to make any changes to their residence. Host communities, however, are encouraged to help find or provide potential living arrangements for the fellow.
Q: Will I be able to work a part-time job or go to school?
A: The Fellowship will require a 40 - 45 hour work-week that includes training components. In order to direct the fellow’s full focus to the Appalachian Transition Fellowship experience, we strongly discourage fellows from taking on additional responsibilities beyond the fellowship.
Q: Is travel required for Appalachian Transition Fellows?
A: Fellows are required to attend monthly fellow meetings and overnight quarterly gatherings as well as the initial orientation session and tour. Travel expenses to and from the Appalachian Transition Fellowship meetings will be covered by the management team. Additional travel might be required, depending upon each fellows placement and learning experience.
Q: Will I be able to choose my placement?
A: Applicants are encouraged to think about possible projects, sectors, collaborations and potential communities they would potentially like to engage in. Fellows will be asked to interview with host communities that best align to their interests, skills, and abilities. Host communities will select a fellow based on these interviews. Co-proposals between potential hosts and fellows are encouraged, but not required.
Q: What happens if I am offered a job while I am an Appalachian Transition Fellow?
A: Fellows are expected to finish their year commitment.
Q: How do I apply?
A: The application period for 2014-15 is closed. When the application period reopens in 2015, applications for the fellowship can be found at www.appfellowship.org. There are three components to the application process: 1) submission of an online application form and resume; 2) submission of a signed Declaration of Commitment and Responsibility; and 3) submission of 3 letters of recommendations
Q: When do I start? How long does the Fellowship last?
A: The Appalachian Transition Fellowship started on June 2, 2014 and will run through May, 2015.
Q: Are fellows required to be from Central Appalachia or the communities they are placed?
A: Though not required, we ask fellows to demonstrate an understanding of the socioeconomic issues of the region, as well as a familiarity with the people, institutions, and culture in which they will be working. One main criteria for the fellowship is a commitment to the Central Appalachian region and a desire to remain in the region to support the region's transition beyond the fellowship.
Q. What type of experience is needed to apply?
A. Experiences needed for the fellowship are familiarity and understanding of the region; creativity and innovation in the fellow's work or field of study; and strong collaboration, teamwork, and group decision-making skills.
Q. How will I be notified of the status of my application?
A. Fellowship applicants for 2014-15 were notified of their finalist status by the end of February 2014. Interviews between Fellows and Host Communities occurred from March 10-21, 2014 and final selection occurred by the end of March 2014.
Q. Is there an age limit for fellows?
A. There is not an age limit for fellows. However, fellows should be early in their career or at a transitory time and wanting to move to a different sector or area of work.
Q. I applied and didn't get accepted, can I reapply?
A. We encourage all applicants that were not accepted to apply for the fellowship starting in 2015.
Q. Are there expenses I am responsible for as a fellow?
A. Fellows are responsible for housing if community housing is not paid for. Fellows are also responsible for paying for day-to-day expenses while working in the host community such as food, gas, etc.
Q. Do I need to attend all of the gatherings and skill workshops?
A. Yes, part of the commitment and responsibilities of the fellowship is to participate in both learning opportunities with the host communities and the monthly skill workshops and quarterly promising sector gatherings.