Over the past year, the City of Turlock has made strides in increasing the amount of provided internships, giving more than 50 college students professional experience that will benefit not only their résumés, but future career opportunities.
Hosting a record-breaking 56 interns during the 2013-2014 school year, the City provided positions for students from California State University, Stanislaus, University of California, Merced, and the Maddy Institute.
“We laud the collaboration with our area universities to help prepare our local college students with real world experience to give them a competitive edge as they begin their careers,” said Mayor John Lazar. “I began my public service career first as a volunteer, then as a young staffer. It is truly one of the best ways to gain meaningful know-how in truly serving our community. Our interns have worked in every program area in our City government — from the Mayor and City Manager’s office to our engineering and police departments.”
Lazar says that increasing internship opportunities was part of his job creation initiative this term to help graduating college students find career paths so that they can return to Turlock, or continue to have a job within the city, and make Turlock their home. Due to few job opportunities in the area, many college graduates have reported seeking work outside of Stanislaus County, taking their knowledge with them to places such as the Bay Area to find career opportunities — a trend that Lazar and other city and county officials are hoping to amend through various job creation efforts.
“Turlock is a city on the move and a city for all generations,” said Lazar. “This is just another example of how I see the City of Turlock building on its strengths to position itself for the future of job creation.”
On Thursday evening, the 56 interns as well as more than 100 other city volunteers were honored during an appreciation dinner held at the Senior Center, where they were also recognized with a cake that featured the City’s logo and the words “Thank you for all you do.”
Ending her internship last week, Turlock resident and University of the Pacific and University of San Francisco graduate Karuna Koppula says that she would highly recommend interning with the City of Turlock to other college students.
“Having grown up in Turlock, I was interested in learning about the issues facing our city and the economy,” said Koppula. “My time at the City of Turlock opened my eyes to the work cities do in planning for our future. I also learned of new career options that I had not considered.”
Throughout her internship, Koppula worked alongside Assistant to the City Manager for Housing and Economic Development Maryn Pitt, helping support the efforts of the Turlock Economic Development Task Force. Now that her internship is finished, Koppula is working alongside the Michael Eggman campaign for Congress, and hopes to one day find a career in politics and public policy.
“I enjoyed my internship, and the people in the department were all wonderful and happy to share their experiences with me,” said Koppula. “I would definitely recommend interning with the City of Turlock.”