Serving California is easier than you might think

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Have you ever wondered how to become a member of the Public Utilities Commission? What about getting on California’s Air Resources Board or the California Water Resources Control Board? The nearly 4,000 commissioners and board members who shape state policy are rarely in the public eye, so who are these people and how did they get there?

Recently a large number of people from UCLA got the answers.

“There is definitely a belief that the appointments process is an insider’s game,” said Cathryn Rivera, appointments secretary for California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Rivera spoke at a UCLA Alumni town hall on Jan. 12. “We are close to 4,000 appointments that this governor is responsible for, so we would not get very far if we only relied on people we knew.”

Newsom is instead looking for appointees who look like the people they serve, and his staff are dedicated to finding new ways to ensure that Californians can easily apply for the job.

200 Bruins attended virtually to hear from Rivera on why a such diverse workforce is needed to fill hundreds of California state commission and board appointments vacant right now. For Bruins looking to get involved in civic affairs, the message was clear: Apply.

The event, which was co-hosted by the UCLA Alumni Association and UCLA Government and Community Relations, included a panel and Q&A with three alumni serving in state-appointed roles. The association puts on events similar to this regularly to help Bruins to learn more about working in the public sector, to provide resources for career growth and give them access to networking.

“This tradition of service is alive and well today, as our panel of alumni who’ve served on commissions will remind us,” said Chancellor Gene Block during opening remarks. “Service to the state aligns so well with our public nature and the commitment to the common good we try to instill in our students.”

Read more on UCLA Newsroom here.