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State Capital Building

Government Internships

An internship is a creative way of applying knowledge, usually learned in school, to “real life” situations. Internships are opportunities to refine skills and increase personal competency. A practical application of education can better help employees understand where their skills and knowledge can be effectively exercised. There are internships offered in most industries, all around the country, but government positions are among the most sought after and have professional importance.

An Internship With Your Local Government Official

Government internships are a smart way to jump-start your political or legal career. Local governments around the United States have designated a certain number of positions for paid and unpaid internships. Community or district governments provide more accessible job markets than those of federal agencies. Federal internships are often highly competitive, require experience and hire through stringent application processes, while local governments are more welcoming of interns, especially volunteers.

Opportunities are often available in program management, public health, accounting, budget, business, security and enforcement. Some of these positions require an education in law or international affairs as a prerequisite. Others are volunteer or unpaid internships which can easily be applied to. Students are encouraged to submit applications for work during their summer vacations, but opportunities are available all year long.

Graduate degree seeking students can benefit from local government internships by applying their experience towards their law or graduate school requirements. Even though many government internships do not have monetary rewards, the experience gained, and connections made can lead to a successful, public service career. Contacts in local government can help employees find permanent jobs when they have obtained their degree. That means that an internship can be the first step towards a career in government (with all the associated benefits of job security, pension, and health insurance).

The designated responsibilities of a government internship can be very intense because of the hands-on nature of these programs, but can also create unique and valuable experiences. These internships often require employees to take part in policy development or legal issues relevant to their area. Opportunities range from the largest of state government offices to numerous lobbying groups and non profit organizations. Local governments often offer positions at: The State Attorney Generals Office, The State Legislature, the local prosecutor and defenders office and any of the various state agencies. These jobs cover a plethora of legal, political, economic and environmental issues that arise in your area. So if you are a degree seeking student or a graduate looking for a job, this could be a way make a difference in your neighborhood.

There are countless government agencies that span a variety of interests and concentrations. This allows prospective applicants to try different aspects of public service work. State and local listings can be found in the Government Honors & Internship Handbook which is published yearly. For students, Blackboard Academic Suite also has a catalog of available positions. Further research can be done through individual agencies, which will usually have listings posted on their website. Look for these opportunities to boost your resume, gain real world experience and create life long connections.

Job Searches

Image: Flickr-Alex Dixon


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