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Be Connected: Stories from our City of Boston Employee Development Scholarship recipients

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Human Resources

Each week, we will share updates, quotes, and photos of the inspiring work that our employees are doing in service to our City.

This week, we have a story from two recipients of the City of Boston Employee Development Scholarship.

A Boston native (born and raised in Southie), Eamon Miller has always felt attached to his community. He was a former dean of students at a school in Dorchester for five years. Now, he works for the City of Boston Fire Department. “I wanted to go work for the City, and continue that public service role,” he explains. 

That desire to contribute to his community is what led him to consider higher education as well. “I wanted to continue to give back,” he says. “Earning an MBA would give me an opportunity to gain the skills and the knowledge necessary for that.” 

Eamon had known a few colleagues in the City who had utilized the City’s Employee Development Scholarship in order to attend graduate school. In discussing their experiences, he learned of Boston University’s Social Impact PEMA program, and it piqued his interest.

For Carol Houghtaling of the Public Facilities Department, higher education could offer her the chance to achieve her dream. “[A graduate program] was the only way for me to achieve the credentials required to become a licensed social worker,” she said. “But it is time-consuming and expensive. Without a scholarship and the support of my department, I would never be able to finish the program.” That’s why she began exploring the City’s Employee Development Scholarship program. 

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Mayor Walsh celebrating with Eamon Miller and his fellow 2019 City scholars before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Boston Employee Development Scholarship program, established in 1984, awards a limited number of full-tuition scholarships to qualifying City of Boston employees pursuing graduate degrees or certificates at the participating universities (currently Boston University and Northeastern University).

Any masters and graduate-level programs at the participating universities are covered by the scholarship so long as the applicant can demonstrate the program degree is relevant to their current position at the City and career development. Some of the programs in which past and current City scholars enrolled in include and are not limited to: MS in Criminal Justice, MS in Urban Affairs, MBA Social Impact, MS in Forensics, MS in City Planning, MS in Public Health, MS in Social Work, MS in Actuarial Science, MS in Computer Science, MS in Nonprofit Management, MS in Leadership, MS in Analytics, MS in Human Resources, MS in Accounting and Taxation, MS in eLearning And Instructional Design, MS in Corporation and Organization Communication, Urban Informatics Certificate, and Human Resources Certificate.

Both Eamon and Carol speak highly of the faculty, courses, and lessons learned through their respective programs, and have found them to be incredibly valuable to their City of Boston careers. For Eamon, there was an immediate benefit to his current role. “I think every class you take is applicable, no matter what,” he said. “I manage a very large grant for the City of Boston, but I came from an education background, so I was never a numbers guy. The finance courses and accounting classes I was able to take have definitely hit home.” 

Eamon also learned about project management, working in teams, culture building, conflict resolution, and more — all of which have helped him in his day-to-day work in his previous position in the Office of Emergency Management, and in his current role at Boston Fire. “I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity to have attended BU's Questrom School of Business and apply the knowledge I've gained to the City I love,” he said. 

Carol’s department does not require a social worker on staff, but attending the Boston University School of Social Work helped her to develop skills she believes will be valuable to the City of Boston as she continues to grow her career within the organization. “I would encourage anyone who is eligible to apply [for the scholarship]”, said Carol. “I truly appreciate the City's willingness to invest in me. And I’m also grateful for the support of my department, as it was a huge commitment. With that, it was up to me to follow through and finish.” 

Carol and Eamon are just two of the many City employees who have grown and developed their careers with the assistance of the City of Boston Employee Development Scholarship. Our scholarship recipients serve the City in many ways, from the Boston Police Department, to the Public Health Commission, Age Strong Commission, Intergovernmental Relations, Environment Department, and many more. They represent the wide range of work that the City does. And they are helping the people of Boston, every day.

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Mayor Walsh posing with Boston University City scholars at a reception held prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To be eligible for the City of Boston Employee Development Scholarship, you must have a Bachelor’s degree, must currently be a full-time City employee, and must have worked for the City full-time for at least one year by the application deadline (July 1). Additionally, you must be an employee of good standing, supported by writing from your current supervisor. 

Please note: The Boston Public Schools and the Boston Planning & Development Agency do not participate in this program. Employees of these departments are not eligible for the scholarship.

For more information about the Employee Development Scholarship, download the fact sheet and frequently asked questions. Additionally, you may reach out to Barry.Reaves@boston.gov with any further questions.  

Share your employee story with us for next week!

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