State and Local Government Trek Recap

Our Public Service & Government Community visited with employers and alumni at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the City of Richmond Government, and the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management. Read on to learn more about career opportunities in these areas and gain some application tips!

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

What would a typical day look like for a Research Associate/Economist?

Do you have an interest in conducting and publishing research, but aren’t sure that you want to become a faculty member at a university? Then a position as a Research Associate (RA) may be a good route for you. RAs and Economists utilize their knowledge of economics as a tool in understanding of our society. Thus, they develop a strong familiarity with math and continuously learn and develop other hard skills, such as coding, to solve economic models and create visual displays of their data and findings.  They also spend time gathering and analyzing data from various sources, studying and summarizing background literature, and editing and providing feedback on paper drafts.

Here are some of the topics that the RAs and Economists have been working on recently: the gender pay gap, rural and urban development, immigration, and more.

What are some tips for students interested in applying to internships and RA positions?

A passion for learning and a willingness to challenge yourself academically and intellectually are musts for a career in this field. Thus, the FRB and other research-based organizations seek competitive applications with a GPA of 3.0 and above. Nevertheless, they also look at course load choices, past leadership positions and campus involvement, among other academic considerations such as out-of-class research experiences. In all roles within the FRB, they are looking for leaders, problem-solvers, and strategic thinkers.  They value experiences that highlight a student’s interpersonal skills as well as technical skills, such as math for RA positions. Having intermediate coursework in economics, statistics, or math or some familiarity with coding in any language (MATLAB, Stata, and R are used most often) is a plus!

Interested in the Discover Program, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s new two-year rotational program? Recruitment will start again in the fall, so make sure to stop by the next Commerce Career Fair, where the FRB will likely have a table. Check out this LinkedIn post to learn a little bit more. Make sure to follow the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on LinkedIn, as this is where they will often start posting about their most recent openings. They will also post on

City of Richmond

What are some of the different areas that you can explore working in the City of Richmond Government?

Interested in working with a budget? The entry level role as a budget analyst provides new employees with a chance to explore what it truly means to work with and balance a budget. You would work to understand constituent needs, research and justify past and present spending priorities and mandates, analyze performance metrics and projected spending, and more.

Interested in working within human resources? Working in HR will give you a wonderful opportunity to help people work together efficiently and effectively. If you want a position where you get to develop and implement systems and programs to support staff development, then HR may be a great avenue.

Interested in working within economic development? Work within the economic development realm, especially in the higher roles, involves a lot of collaboration with outside partners in areas such as transportation, housing, and sustainability. It involves the ability to develop strong interpersonal and cross-departmental relations, and it provides a great opportunity to develop skills in planning and implementation.

And this is just a small portion of the areas that you can explore in local government. See the City of Richmond’s website for more details.

What are some tips for students interested in applying to internships and full-time roles?

As can be seen above, working in local government requires strong interpersonal skills and a willingness to collaborate. Making sure to include the value of teamwork in your application materials can be extremely helpful. It is also important to show your knowledge of the structure of city government, so make sure to examine their website and learn about the culture and structure of the office.

Most positions open and close on a Sunday, and there is almost always recruiting happening across offices and departments. Current postings can be found at and you can create an account at to apply. Make sure to include all relevant experience (volunteer, coursework, internships, etc.) in your application materials!

Virginia Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM)

What can a day look like working with the DHRM?

There are so many different types of jobs within DHRM. For instance, many staff members have the chance to work on or lead statewide projects, sometimes working directly with the Governor’s Office and other times with one of the around 100 agencies within the executive branch. Many times, these roles allow for strategic collaboration with HR officers across the government. In short, if you have an interest in analyzing proposals, working with IT, and developing and implementing various programs and tasks, a career in human resources management may be a good path for you!

In addition, DHRM works with the Virginia Management Fellows as well. Not sure what that is? Take a look at this page to learn about a post-graduate program that gives you a chance to explore a career within state government.

What are some tips for students interested in applying to internships and full-time roles?

You can apply for jobs at DHRM through and filter by the agency name: Dept of Human Resource Management. This is the same site that would be used to apply to any opportunity within the Commonwealth for open state positions. Make sure to highlight your career interests and relevant undergraduate experiences in your applications!

Interested in a career with state or local government? Explore our PSG page all about Government Careers here.