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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-123
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0980Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeMarch 18, 1998

. . . As A New Recruit For Community Builders


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today launched a landmark initiative to revitalize cities by recruiting hundreds of the best and brightest minds into government service through two-to-four year temporary fellowships. This announcement followed a meeting of distinguished leaders from the private and public sector, including community and economic development specialists from across the country, who are serving on the Community Builders Fellowship Advisory Board (a list of Board members is attached.)

In partnership with Harvard University, HUD's Community Builders Fellowship will resemble an "urban Peace Corps," offering highly competitive posts for skilled professionals from all walks of life to revive and strengthen neighborhoods. Community Builders will be based out of HUD's 81 field offices and will travel into nearby cities and towns to serve as the agency's first point of contact. They will be equipped with computer laptops that will effectively serve as mobile offices and technology links, providing the latest information on how the agency can assist communities and what HUD-funded efforts are already underway.

"The Community Builders program marks a turning point in the way we approach problem-solving in our communities, especially our urban centers, which are facing complex economic and social challenges," Cuomo said. "We will link the determined energy and bold ideas of our brightest minds with the greatest needs in communities, creating a revolving door of talent between HUD and our communities and replenishing that talent every two-to-four years."

The Community Builders Fellowship is a joint effort between HUD and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. If selected, a Community Builder will receive four weeks of training at Harvard, followed by two weeks of training at HUD. They will then begin their work on the front lines in communities across the country. Training at Harvard will emphasize case studies and successful models of community development strategies as well as specific skills needed. Community Builders also will be trained in all aspects of HUD operations and will serve as team builders, fostering partnerships and innovation inside and outside the agency.

"We will be training and educating a new generation of leaders from all walks of life, drawing on the compassion and competence of people who live and work in hundreds of communities," Cuomo said. "These smart, talented individuals will be HUD's front door, welcoming change and building a stronger, healthier American Community."

Community Builders will be recruited from many professions. A few examples include economic development experts, academics, non-profit directors, bankers, school principals, law enforcement officials, advocacy workers, health care workers and technology specialists. Those selected will be hired through the same process as civil service, career employees in the federal government. While in service, a Community Builder is a paid Federal employee who receives the same benefits as other Federal employees.

HUD will hire 230 Community Builders this year and another 230 Community builders in 1999, for a total of 460 temporary Community Builders positions. Through attrition, the agency will continue to downsize and, as a result, the positions will not impact the budget. Community Builder Fellows will work side-by-side with HUD career employees, 350 of whom will serve as permanent Community Builders in all HUD offices. Cuomo said the temporary Community Builders, who will bring diverse skills and backgrounds to the position, will complement the career, permanent Community Builders, who already possess a wealth of knowledge and experience on HUD programs.

The Community Builder Fellowship is a major element of HUD's management reform plan, which calls for a new focus on community outreach and direct customer service for the public.

"We will start out this year with more than two hundred recruits and, like the Peace Corps, we will expand over the years into a powerful movement for change, growth and self-empowerment," Cuomo said. "Community Builders will bring to urban revitalization what the Peace Corps continues to bring to global development."

Examples of work assignments for Community Builders will include meeting with community leaders, business owners, educators and elected officials to help them design effective plans for utilizing funds from government, the private sector, and foundations; helping a small business owner obtain a loan or grant or open a business; working with a group of developers to find financing for a shopping center; scouting out a location for a new park with the neighborhood association; and developing ways to increase homeownership in neighborhoods.

Community Builders will be selected on the basis of leadership potential, commitment to public service, career achievement and a demonstrated ability to plan, implement and complete projects.

Anyone interested in applying for a Community Builders Fellowship must complete an application form and provide other information before May 1, 1998. Selection of finalists and interviews will be made in May and June of 1998. In July, Community Builders will be selected and fellowships will begin in August and September of 1998. You can get an application form online or call 1-800-497-3823 or contact HUD at:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Human Resources
451 7th Street, S.W. Room 2258
Washington, D.C. 20410
email address: Community_Builders@hud.gov

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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