BOSTON (AP) -- The state is funding a program to provide at least a dozen yearlong graduate fellowships to place women in state managerial jobs with the aim of jump starting their careers.

The program, expected to cost about $1 million in its first year, follows recent studies that show Massachusetts isn’t keeping pace with other states when it comes to women in leadership posts.

Gov. Deval Patrick told The Boston Globe that in a compettive global economy it’s critical the state prepares everyone to contribute.

The fellowship, to be formally announced Wednesday, is being developed with Bentley University’s Center for Women in Business. Many details are still being worked out, but state officials hope to begin accepting applications by the end of April, and placing fellows in full salary jobs by September.