In 2019, NDTC launched the inaugural Staff Academy. This free, intensive 10-week training program prepares graduates to enter Democratic politics. Since then, over 400 cohort members have matriculated from the program as well as enhanced their political jobs search. Applicants choose one of three signature tracks: Digital, Fundraising, or Communications. Roles in these fields are hard to fill in Democratic politics. So, these sought after skills make our graduates quite attractive.
Staff Academy is intentional about recruiting. As a result, this intention aims to connect underrepresented communities in order to work in Democratic politics. Our program prioritizes applicants who are women, people of color, transgender, and non-binary. As a result, this helps potential campaign staff overcome barriers to gaining employment. Our alumni graduate the program in order to embark on a successful political job search. The training helps grads build their skills as well as develop their resume.
Who Are Staff Academy Alumni?
Staff Academy’s diverse group of alumni come from a variety of different backgrounds. Some bring prior campaign volunteer experience. Examples include holding roles such as field organizers as well as local campaign managers. Others have campaign experience outside of their chosen track. Some cohort members are “political veterans.” However, others are recent college graduates or new to the political world. Similarly, we even train current students who are willing to take time off in order to work on a campaign. Many of our alumni are looking to change their careers or make a pivot. After graduating Staff Academy, they leave their full-time, non-political jobs.
Danny Perez (Fundraising, 2019) came to Staff Academy from music and education. After graduating, he became a Fundraising Consultant with Briana Urbina for Congress. He then became a Finance Assistant and later, a Call-Time Manager for Oz Vazquez for Congress. Danny returned to NDTC and is currently the Staff Academy Operations Associate.
Millie Domenech’s (Communications, 2022) background is in legal work. She also has experience managing local campaigns. From Staff Academy, she works as an Account Manager at Deliver Strategies. This direct mail firm contracted her through the 2022 midterm elections.
Applicants bring a panoply of work as well as educational experience to the application. Regardless, Staff Academy prepares graduates to enter the workforce within their respective tracks.
Navigating a Political Jobs Search
Usually, political jobs exist on “insider” job boards and exclusive email lists. So, it can be hard for someone to break into the political jobs sphere. Staff Academy creates a networking community. It connects graduates with various Democratic campaign employment opportunities. For graduates with campaign experience, Staff Academy provides new opportunities. Additionally, every cohort member has a Program Specialist/Associate (PSA). This person guides them through the job application, interview, as well as offer negotiation processes.
Resume Support and Mock Interviews
Near the end, Staff Academy provides a resume and political jobs hunting webinar. This part of the program helps transition graduates into their political jobs search. Additionally, the webinar covers resume best practices as well as tips in order to make job applications stand out. However, cohort members also take part in mock interviews. Mock interviews are usually conducted by full-time NDTC staff, trainers, or alumni. Cohort members receive feedback on their interviews and resume.
1:1 Meetings with Program Specialists/Associates
After graduating, cohort members can schedule job search 1:1 meetings with their PSA. PSAs guide graduates, showing them how to customize application materials for specific postings. Additionally, PSAs provide interview support. This support covers common interview questions. Similarly, they work on marketing the graduate’s transferable skills as well as individual experience. Even through negotiating salaries as well as promotions, PSAs support navigating those difficult conversations.
Learn From Real Life Examples
Staff Academy provides In Real Life (IRL) webinars. These host a series of panelists who detail day-to-day realities of the job. Meanwhile during the event, cohort members participate in various breakout sessions. Here, they have the opportunity to interact with panelists in a more-intimate setting. In 2022, these panelists included:
In 2022, Staff Academy hosted Storytime webinars. These hour-long webinars featured a campaign professional. During, they spoke with cohort members on a specific theme. These ranged from boundary setting to navigating priorities between campaign teams.
Staff Academy is the Future
With over 400 graduates, Staff Academy is making an impact on electoral politics. Above all, our alumni can navigate the political jobs search process with confidence. They are ready to enter the workforce with the necessary skills to be successful. NDTC looks forward to welcoming the next cohort class in 2023. If you want to work for a Democratic campaign, Staff Academy is right for you!
The training and tools you need, when you need them. Courses are available 24/7. Are you a candidate, campaign staffer or volunteer, at the beginning stages of your campaign or in the home stretch? We have the courses to address your specific needs and arm you with the knowledge to win.
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