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Scott Shapiro, Chief Innovation Officer for Mayor Gray’s office, shared both a sampling of current projects and his journey to public service last week during a professional development workshop for first-year students. The answer to that question helped Scott navigate a career change; he got his start in New York City in the press office for Governor Cuomo and subsequently worked in the private sector. Later in life he earned his MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School as a way to get back into public service.

For the students, one recommendation Scott had was to find their interests and follow them. He charted a course back to public service because he found himself reading about policy at night, and he suggested that students pay close attention to what they find themselves reading in their free time.

Meeting with folks like Scott helps MPA and MPP students articulate their own vision for their future. The Martin School professional development program fosters career exploration, including simulating the job application process. During our time with Scott, discussion included the creative energy permeating city government today. A few of the projects he’s worked on since coming to Lexington:

  • development of the University City benchmark
  • public-private partnership to install fiber optic infrastructure in Lexington
  • police and fire pension reform

Past sessions have focused on marketable skill identification, salary negotiation, resume and cover letter writing, and good resources for finding potential jobs. In the next few weeks the professional development cohort, led by Dr. Jennings, will participate in mock interviews for self-selected job listings. This exercise provides timely practice, as many students are on the hunt for summer internships.