Ventura County Internship Program Gives Students Head Start
In an effort to introduce students to the different facets of public works and nurture interest in civil engineering, Ventura County offers a student internship program with the ultimate goal of students transitioning into professional public works careers.
“For public works, we want to showcase to students what we do, types of jobs, skill set and educational requirements to interest them in pursuing careers such as civil engineering,” said Janice Turner, Director of Ventura County Public Works Agency’s (VCPWA) Central Services Department.
The County offers a paid student internship program, wherein VCPWA departments hire high school and college students who meet certain requirements and expose them to working in a professional environment. The goal is to place them into practical and meaningful project assignments where they can obtain real-world experience; different VCPWA departments will develop specific projects on which the students will work.
“We also outreach to high schools and work in conjunction with the Ventura County Office of Education Regional Occupation Program,” Turner said. “We offer high school students an opportunity to work for us in return for school credit. We hope to spark an interest in these students to develop the skills and educational requirements that would prepare them for a public works career.”
One shining example of these internship programs is Howard De Leon, an Engineer III for the Advance Planning section of Ventura County’s Transportation Department. De Leon is tasked with helping to maintain Ventura County’s 544-mile unincorporated road system, and it all started with the County’s student internship program, which educated him on the various aspects of civil engineering.
De Leon has been a VCPWA employee for nearly a decade now and credits the internship program for laying the foundation of his career.
“I highly recommend this program to any student wanting to pursue a career in civil engineering and public works,” De Leon said. “It will give them the background they need to succeed.”