Public Service Scholarship

by California State RecordsState Records

The California Public Sector

California's Public sector provides vital services and access to those services to all people residing within the state. It helps ensure continuity of government and public infrastructure. Regardless of the changes in election or appointment of the governing bodies or persons, the public sector remains the essential tool used by the government for making, regulating, implementing and enforcing laws, policies, programs, agendas and the means by which the government interfaces with the people, measures its efficiency and responds to public queries.

Why is the Public Sector so Important?

Laws, government programs, policies, and agendas have far-reaching effects on the daily lives of members of the general public. It is beneficial to be part of the decision-making process of policies, laws, and agendas with such great impact. Any interested person can make a difference in the efficiency of government by understanding the government process, civic engagement, participating in delivering services and demanding an open and accountable government. The public sector is also often used to measure the effectiveness of the government.

Like all organizations, the California Public Sector is guided by strict laws, rules, guidelines, and regulations, such as the Public Service Ethics Law, and the California Public Records Act (CPRA). While the Ethics Law provides the minimum standards for public officials’ conduct, the main focus of the CPRA is government accountability. The CPRA empowers the public to demand access to information with which they can measure or monitor government activities, programs, plans, policies, implementation, impact, government spending and so on. Government agencies are under the obligation to maintain records of their activities, spending, programs, plans, communication, information recorded or collected on persons, etc. They must also provide the public with access to all that information except for those specifically excluded by court order or the law.

Why Should Young People Take Interest in the Public Sector?

Young residents are a dynamic innovative force in California’s political and socio-economic landscape. Today's generation of college students can make a difference in how government policies are designed and in the political process through meaningful participation in their local communities and lending their voices to the policy-making process.

Understanding how the public sector works helps people make decisions on how they can participate in government, how to exercise their rights and demand better delivery from the government.

Young people can participate in many ways including

  1. Participation in policymaking. Young people with innovative ideas can contribute ideas that could change or help the government make better, more people-focused policies and improve their plans on service delivery.

  2. Participating in political discussions that could be beneficial to bridging the communication and expectation gap between the public and the government.

  3. Participating can contributing to influencing how resources are channeled by the government and could result in seeing positive changes in the community

  4. Holding Public office. Young people are often excluded as political candidates, however, a young person with knowledge in public sector administration could start their journey to leadership and make positive impacts from the grassroots.

  5. Participation can boost young people’s interest in pursuing a career in public service Working in public service gives young people the opportunity to understand the issues in their community, their local and state government and the effectiveness of the strategies in place to address those issues.



This Scholarship program is offered by Starecords to recognize the efforts of young college students who have the capacity to participate and take an interest in the governance process in California and can seize the opportunity to engage formally or informally in California’s political and public decision making processes.

02 promotes public access to information by collecting and updating information from open state and local government sources in line with applicable information regulatory infrastructure in each state.


The scholarship program is aimed at inspiring strategic public engagement in young people in college. The $1,000 will be awarded to students who can demonstrate their knowledge of the Public sector and public records system in the state of California and who can propose solutions to challenges they have identified in the system and how they intend to contribute to engaging their community in the governance process.


California State Records is honored to present this $1,000 college scholarship for the 2020 school year. The 2020 scholarship period begins on May 15th which is when new entries will be accepted. The application START DATE is May 15th, 2020 and the END DUE DATE is December 20th, 2020. To enter the contest, interested applicants must fill out the application form completely. The essay must include a personal statement (clarified in the 2nd essay question). ALL sources used in the essay must have the proper citation. Most preferred writing formats are MLA and APA. Your essay will contain a minimum word count of 1,000 words and a maximum of 1,500 words. Include your first and last name at the top of your document.

Before starting your essay, please familiarize yourself with public records.

Public records are created by government bodies to record incidents and events where the government’s officials and authorities became involved. This is typically associated with court records and police records, but can also include property records where a notary was needed, or vital records recording the details of a marriage. These records are public by law to ensure the transparency of the society and can be found online, through your local municipal authority, or via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Essay Questions:

  • 1) How can society improve through the use of digital public records?
  • 2) As a public employee, how do you believe access to public records can affect you and your community.

Some topics to consider but are not limited to:

  • Public records
  • Digital police reports
  • Background checks
  • Vital records
  • Birth records
  • Death records
  • Census
  • Court records
  • City hall records
  • Marriage records
  • Divorce records