Inspiring the Next Generation of Leaders the Riverside County Way
The following blog was written by Erica Manuel, CEO and Executive Director of the Institute for Local Government.
The offices of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors have a youthful energy thanks to an innovative model that provides at-risk youth an opportunity to serve in the public sector.
The Riverside County Legislative Internship Program is a collaboration between the Workforce Development Center, the Board of Supervisors and the California Family Life Center, a non-profit agency that provides the staffing and program support for the program. The program provides at-risk college students with long-term, stable internships where they can gain professional skills, experience and connections for future employment and foundational knowledge about serving in and leading local government.
Through this unique model, the interns learn about the County Board of Supervisors as a governing body and all its associated processes and procedures. They receive incredibly enriching professional experiences learning about policy implementation as well as services and programs Riverside County provides to its residents. As part of their job experience, interns receive formal skills training, participate in online courses, engage in quarterly performance evaluations, receive mentorship from staff leaders and peers and learn a variety of relevant work skills, including:
- Event planning and coordination
- Strategy and planning
- Public speaking
- Supervising, managing and training
- Record keeping
- Budgeting, purchasing and accounting
- Drafting and processing legal agreements, and
- Networking and relationship-building
Riverside County’s Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington reflects on the legislative intern model “every day, I find myself inspired by the spirit, courage and determination of young people, who show a true desire to be active and engaged in their communities. I have had a number of young people in my office – many interns and some who started as interns and later became full-time staff members — and I am always impressed by their creativity, work ethic and commitment to public service.”
The legislative interns are also the official coordinators of the Riverside Countywide Youth Commission. Each legislative intern coordinates a different supervisorial district’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC).
The charge of the commission is to provide advice, assistance and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. The commission also hosts educational and community service events for the youth of Riverside. Notable events include the Annual Youth in Government Day, the Annual Youth Summit and the Annual Youth Retreat for YAC members.
With direction from the legislative interns, each of the five YAC’s design and host activities to engage youth living in the district. The legislative interns also supervise high school students who plan and lead events focused on raising awareness of critical community issues, like services for foster youth, mental health and suicide prevention, homelessness and other foundational topics.
The impact this program has on the professional development and career preparation for the interns is evident. “60% of previous interns have been hired on within the county following their internship,” shared Rachel Babcock, Professional Services Coordinator with the California Family Life Center (CFLC).
Contact Erica Manuel at: firstname.lastname@example.org.