Government-to-University Initiative

The Government-to-University Initiative (G2U) is an innovative approach to addressing critical governance challenges by building structured regional networks of governments and universities. The initiative aims to catalyze a robust local marketplace that can sustainably connect governments' hiring and research needs with local university capacity.

Learn more about what we've been doing and how you can get involved.

Why is G2U important?

G2U is premised on the core belief that partnerships between universities and government at all levels—federal, state, and local—can generate substantial benefits in preparing our nation to actively address complex, urgent challenges. Yet, today, there is a growing disconnect between government needs and university alignment with those needs.

  • We are facing an urgent public sector workforce crisis. Twenty-three percent of the private sector workforce is under the age of thirty, while only seven percent of the federal government workforce is under that age. In the last five years, the number of job postings for state government employment has risen eleven percent, even as total applications have fallen by twenty-five percent. Federal, state, and local governments will see a doubling of the percent of their workforce that is eligible to retire in the next five years.

  • The performance of our government institutions depends significantly on the training and education of talented public servants. Government practitioners confirm that "skilling" and "reskilling" needs will increase with changes in work due to technological advancements.

  • The link between academic research and governance is ever more attenuated. Budget constraints and performance demands compel government leaders to use data and analytics to improve effectiveness and efficiency, yet only thirteen percent of top public administration journal articles are focused on specific performance problems in government, and there is often a disconnect between university research and its potential use by government.

What is a G2U Regional Council?

A G2U Regional Council is a vibrant, structured network which connects local, state, and federal government leaders in a region with key faculty and administrators from surrounding colleges and universities. Regional Councils might also include nonprofit, civic, and private sector leaders as circumstances dictate.

In February 2020, the Volcker Alliance announced the launch of two new G2U Regional Councils in Los Angeles, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In Los Angeles, the Volcker Alliance has partnered with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to anchor the effort. In Pittsburgh, the effort will be led by Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the Metro21: Smart Cities Institute. These new sites will build upon the success of the pilot G2U Coalition in Kansas City led by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), which will celebrate its one-year anniversary with its first regionwide Coalition Convening on April 21.  

Throughout 2020, the Volcker Alliance will work to build connections within the growing cohort of Regional Councils and will explore opportunities to expand the G2U network further.

Governed by a written charter, the Regional Councils will identify and pursue opportunities to better prepare and strengthen the pipeline of talent from local universities into government and explore approaches to systematizing research exchanges focused on solving pressing government operational and management issues. The Councils themselves will provide a platform to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones among government practitioners and university leaders at the regional level.

Membership in the full Regional Council will be available to any institution within the region that is interested in contributing to the work of the G2U Initiative, such as:

  • Representatives from local colleges and universities (professors, administrators, career development professionals);
  • Hiring managers from city, state, or federal government agencies based in the region;
  • Federal government officials, including members of the Federal Executive Board and its network in the region;
  • State, county, city, and other local-level agency leaders;
  • Representatives from the local, state. federal legislative bodies;
  • Other agencies actively working in the areas of recruitment, research, performance management, leadership development, or training in the region. 

Civic organizations, foundations, professional organizations, or private firms with relevant subject matter expertise are also encouraged to get involved.

G2U Regional Councils are powerfully positioned to pilot innovative national initiatives. The G2U regional Coalition in Kansas City is a key partner in implementing the GEAR Center Challenge Pilot project, a cutting-edge effort to train federal practitioners in data-driven decision-making and management.

What does success look like?

A successful G2U Regional Council will be a sustainable, replicable network that delivers value for members. It should:

  • Boost the placement of top university graduates in employment in government agencies; 
  • Increase the number and relevance of research projects to advance government effectiveness;
  • Increase the confidence of current government employees that their agencies are recruiting public servants with the right skills;
  • Increase university students' interest in government jobs and understanding of government hiring processes;
  • Develop durable trusted partnerships between institutions and the government and university sectors;
  • Facilitate intergovernmental collaboration on shared priorities; and
  • Contribute to policy changes in hiring protocols or public management in a manner informed by on-the-ground practice.

After the startup phase is complete, each "Steering Committee," the senior leaders that oversee each Regional Council, would meet bimonthly to oversee progress on existing priorities and identify new priorities, as appropriate. The full Regional Council would convene biannually—likely in the fall and the spring—to receive updates on progress, welcome new members, showcase accomplishments, participate in planned activities, review and approve new priorities, and provide a continued platform for stronger government-university relationships.

To learn more about the genesis of G2U and our G2U Launch Event in Washington, D.C., click here or contact Volcker Alliance Associate Director Peter Morrissey.