Name: Jose Manuel Ayon
Job Title: Associate Governmental Program Analyst (AGPA) at the California Department of Veterans Affairs
Recommended Reading: On Leadership by John W. Gardner
What was your path into public service?
I majored in Political Science as an undergrad at UC Berkeley with the clear intention of one day returning to Sacramento to work in the public service sector. In addition, I was a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow through the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and a President Public Service Fellow through the University of California, Center Sacramento. After graduating and completing the Fellowship, I joined the United States Army Reserve as a commissioned officer and currently still serve as a 1st Lieutenant. I also had the opportunity to work with the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and at CSU, Sacramento. Such experiences fueled my passion for public service and gave me the tools to join such sector as a competitive applicant.
What do you do in your current position, and what is something you are working on right now?
I am currently an AGPA for the Department of Veterans Affairs under the Minority Division. This division oversees several programs that are oriented to serve underrepresented and underserved veterans. This includes the Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise Program, where I support both internal and external operations. I am extremely passionate about this work because of my military occupation and the passion I have in regards to giving back to my community. Our work is very much needed, and I am extremely honored to be part of this amazing team at CalVet.
What cautionary tip would you give to someone looking for a job in state service? Applying for State jobs can be a very long and repetitive process. However, staying proactive by regularly updating resumes and applications will really be crucial in the long run.
How does your position in public service compare to other jobs you’ve had in the past?
I enjoy the fast pace that comes with my occupation. Being able to support and work for our California Veterans community as a member of the military is something unique about this job compared to other occupations. The work that we are doing here at CalVet is very rewarding and I definitely enjoy it.