Local Government Internship Program Impactful for Students

September 10, 2015

Earlier this spring, students packed the lobby of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). The group of young adults were excited to begin their summer internships. For the next 10 weeks, these college students would engage in public service by working at various local governments entities throughout Central Ohio.

This year, MORPC created the Local Government Internship Pilot Program. The program was designed to provide students with the opportunity to obtain a professional experience, by working at a local government entity. The new internship program consisted of eight college interns who are planning on a career in public service. MORPC also partnered with Ohio State’s City and Regional Planning Internship Program, which added an additional five interns to the overall program.

“I did not know I would be walking into a place with so much opportunity,” said Jacob Boehk, an intern in MORPC’s Data and Mapping Department. “MORPC and the wide range of work I have done has provided me the tools that are needed to strive in a professional environment.”

Interns attended and participated in commission meetings, program work groups and special MORPC sponsored events, such as the Social Media Workshop. Eileen Leuby, MORPC’s membership coordinator led the efforts for the inaugural summer program.

“We wanted to create a program that allowed participating interns to gain knowledge about the functions of a regional planning commission as well as a local government,” Leuby said. “By the end of the summer, it was evident that this was achieved.”  

Each intern was also assigned a MORPC staff member who served as their mentor. Mentors provided general career advice and guidance to mentees throughout their internships. Having a young professional relate to students proved to be very beneficial for several students.

“I gained a wealth of experience having worked in two departments at MORPC, and having a mentor was instrumental to my success,” said Maggie Walsh, a junior at Ohio State. “It was comforting to know that I could reach out to someone with a question or concern when I needed to.”

The host governments found the quality of the work performed by the interns to be exceptional. Five students received offers from local governments to continue working for them.

Both Boehk and Walsh are continuing their service at MORPC this fall.