Breaking into local government, specifically local government management, admittedly takes tenacity and patience. Most senior managers will tell you they started their careers with some kind of internship or fellowship, some paid, some volunteer. Unfortunately, budget cuts have eliminated many of these entry-level positions.
However, as senior managers begin to retire in greater numbers, local governments need bright and dedicated young people to make public service their career. ICMA is working to increase opportunities for those who will be the local government leaders of tomorrow.
Here are suggestions for how you can pursue your intereset in local government management:
- Search ICMA's Job Center.
- Explore ICMA's Local Government Management Fellowship.
- Check out Management Internships: A Guidebook for Local Governments.
The map below shows some of the communities that offer annual internships and fellowships (also see the listing that follows). Click on any point for more information about that community's program.
View Local Government Management Internships & Fellowships in a larger map
The websites of state local government management associations often also list internship opportunities. ICMA provides a list of these organizations. If these sites do not offer specific internship listings, they may connect you to resources in other jurisdictions near you.
The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administrations (NASPAA) also offers information on internships on its Public Service Careers site.
Lastly, your own school or university may have contacts with local governments through its career services or political science/public administration departments.
Contacting managers and assistant managers for informational interviews is a great way to build your local government network. If you're an ICMA member, you can find contact information for ICMA members in our Who's Who database.
City and county websites also offer contact information for various departments. Simply Google the local government you'd like to contact.
Local Government Management Fellowship/Internship Programs
(Alphabetized by State)
- CalOpps Internship Clearinghouse
- Municipal Management Association of Southern California Job Board
- Municipal Management Association of Northern California Job Board
- City of Long Beach, California, Management Assistant Program
District of Columbia