by Mike Sunseri
Baby boomers comprise about one-third of the national workforce, but nearly half of all legislative staff responding to a recent NCSL survey were 50 years of age or over. Replacing the institutional knowledge of those seasoned staffers as they retire will pose a major challenge to legislative staff directors and human resource departments. Attracting young people to work as legislative staff will be increasingly important in the coming years.
To address this problem, Nancy Cyr, director of the Nebraska Legislative Research Office, launched an effort during her tenure as NCSL Staff Chair to develop a website with a series of videos that describe the dynamic, rewarding world of legislative service.
After three years of work and the collaboration of hundreds of legislative staff around the country, the Legislative Careers website has now been launched. The site is designed to encourage college students, recent graduates and those looking for a career change to consider legislative service as a career. Colleges and universities will also find it useful in promoting legislative internship programs.
"In addition to demonstrating our love of legislative service, the goals of the website are to highlight the variety of professional opportunities available in state legislatures throughout the country; demonstrate the rewards and benefits of a career in public service; and spark interest and encourage young adults to participate in government and consider legislative service as a career," Cyr explained.
The Legislative Careers page features an introductory video that shows the depth and breadth of staff involvement in the legislative process. Visitors can then navigate to the Career Paths tab on the site to view video testimonials from young legislative staffers in 10 areas of specialization coinciding with NCSL's organizations of professional staff. The site also has a page with links to job openings in statehouses throughout the nation.
Staffers featured in the Career Paths videos include:
- Zach Twilla, California Senate
- Cory Stewart, Louisiana House
- Rashada Houston, Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability
- Kelly Dudley, Kentucky Legislative Research Commission
- Matthew Lawrence, Oregon Senate
- Scott Grosz, Wisconsin Legislative Council
- Kristin Ford, Librarian, Idaho Legislature
- Ashley deMauro, Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus
- Jason Watts, Hawaii Senate
- Carlos Galvan, Texas Legislative Council
Mike Sunseri, photography director for the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, organized and managed the development of the videos for the Legislative Careers website.