KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)— The City of Knoxville and the University of Tennessee‘s Howard Baker Center have joined together to give students real-life work experience.

According to the university, UT students with the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy now have the chance to work directly with several City of Knoxville departments and agencies. The city and Baker Center have an official agreement for the students to work as fellows in areas of interest to the student. The university says this will give students valuable work experience while providing public service to Knoxville.

“This partnership between the Baker Center and the City of Knoxville is providing meaningful opportunities for our students to get real-world, hands-on experience that will prepare them for a career in public service,” University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman said. “Programs like these exemplify the education we offer our students—one grounded in academic excellence, experiential learning, and service and leadership. I am grateful to Dr. Wanamaker and Mayor Kincannon for recognizing the potential this partnership had to benefit both the city and our students.”

At this time, there are four Baker Center students working as city fellows with the chief operating officer, Communications, Community Empowerment and the Office of Sustainability. Each is also receiving a stipend for their work.

“This is a win-win partnership,” Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “The city benefits from the energy, talent, fresh ideas and new perspectives of the Baker Center Fellows. The students gain tangible real-world, problem-solving experience, plus a paycheck for their hard work. It will be exciting to watch as the Baker Center Fellows program matures, and its students go on to become future leaders in public policy and public service.”

“The Baker Center is committed to providing UT students with opportunities in the public sector to enrich their university experiences and jumpstart their careers. I want to thank our director of policy partnerships, Bill Lyons, for bringing this together, and I appreciate Mayor Kincannon’s openness to providing these experiences for our students,” Baker Center Executive Director Marianne Wanamaker said.