Source: Daily Breeze
Carson and Cal State Dominguez Hills have forged a new partnership that will allow students to gain paid experience working in the local government while contributing to projects that benefit the community.
The City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 21, approved an agreement with CSUDH for a new mentorship program that will provide a small group of eligible students paid positions across various municipal departments, ranging from finance to engineering and information technology.
The city has previously worked with CSUDH on similar internship programs, but the focus of this one is to recruit new talents to solve some of the city’s pressing issues, such as homelessness or public safety, Carson Deputy City Manager Tarik Rahmani said Tuesday before the council meeting.
“I’m hoping we can convince these kids to stay. I want to keep them,” he said of the eight to 10 students who will comprise the initial crop of interns. “We want to create this bond between new talents and managers and directors, and do recruitment differently, basically.”
The program grew out of the Town and Gown Promise, which the city and the university signed in 2021 to strengthen their partnership, said Andrew Drummond, associate vice president for academic advising and career development at CSUDH.
“The proposed internships will allow our students to gain meaningful, paid public service experience within their local community,” Drummond said, “as well as provide the city of Carson with a pipeline of talented and motivated interns.”
There are already CSUDH students working in the city through various initiatives, such as the College Corps program, but this is the first cross-departmental partnership for both parties, said university spokesperson Lillian McKibbin.
As part of the agreement, the city has set aside $100,000 to support eight interns during the 2023–24 academic year. The city will pay the students $20 an hour for their work, with a cap of around 500 hours. A student who works the full 500 hours will be compensated with around $10,000 during the academic year.
The remaining money in the program’s budget will go toward equipment, such as computers, software and supplies, as well as an end-of-the-year recognition celebration, according to a city staff report.
Each student will be assigned a supervisor within their department. The supervisor will act as a mentor, providing regular feedback and support to their mentees. The program may include workshops, seminars and panel discussions. City staffers will also provide performance evaluations for the students throughout the academic year.
The program is open to juniors, seniors or graduate students in good academic standing, meaning a GPA of 2.8 or higher. Candidates must have a valid California Class C driver’s license and pass a background check/live scan fingerprint conducted by the city.
The first cohort could start working as early as this spring, Rahmani said. He said hopes to increase the budget and the number of students as time goes on.
“We started small, as I had $100,000,” Rahmani said. “Next budget cycle, I am personally going to double it down or go a little bigger, because these students, they’re going to be evidence for me to convince the council that we need to increase this kind of budget allocation. And instead of having 10, we can have 20 or 30 students deployed across the city.”