Breaking into local government, specifically local government management, is no easy task. Most senior managers will tell you they started their careers with some kind of internship or fellowship. Some paid, some volunteer, but there are few better ways. Unfortunately, for decades these bootstrap positions have increasingly been cut. ICMA is working to increase these opportunities, and help build the future of professional local government management.
Students interested in pursuing local government internships and fellowships can search ICMA's Job Center, and also explore the Local Government Management Internship, a program for undergraduates. Graduate level students should explore the Local Government Management Fellowship.
Below is a map of some internships and fellowships throughout the U.S., with a listing below. Just select the map explore the different communities. These are by no means all, but many of these communities have annual programs and are easier to track.
View Local Government Management Internships & Fellowships in a larger map
Contacting managers and assistants for informational interviews is a great way to build connections and inform decision-makers that you are out there. ICMA members can look-up contact information in Who's Who, ICMA's member-finder (available from the home page).
Other options include contacting cities and counties near you. A good place to find city and county Web sites is through state league of cities or county association Web sites. These state league and county association sites can be found online at the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties. When researching your state league of cities or association of counties Web site, also look for internship announcements. These may be listed separately, on a page dedicated to their association newsletter or magazine, or in an employment resources area.
State local government management association's Web sites often also list internship opportunities. A listing of these associations can be found on the ICMA Web page under Member Benefits and Information, State Liaisons. If these sites do not offer specific internship listings, they may connect you with contacts in jurisdictions near you that you can contact directly.
The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) also offers information on internships at its Public Service Careers Web site. Lastly your own school or university may have contacts directly with local governments through the career services department or political science/public administration departments.
Local Government Management Fellowship/Internship Programs
(Alphabetized by State)
District of Columbia