At the annual NJLM Conference, the organization assembled a panel discussion led by municipal management professionals that addressed many of the key elements of successfully integrating interns within local government. Panelists included Andrea Wardrop, Borough Administrator, Borough of Leonia; Bridget Anderson, Business Administrator, City of Elizabeth; Matthew von der Hayden, Administrator, Township of Stafford; Pamela Borek, Township Clerk, Public Information Officer, Communications Director and OEM Deputy, Hillsborough Township; and Stephen Marks, Borough Administrator, Town of Kearny.
Borak started out by explaining how NJMMA launched The Municipal Connection Internship Program, an expansion of the already successful internship program between Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and Hillsborough Township. Municipal internships became available to New Jersey community college students statewide through a new partnership between NJMMA and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC). Borak was able to bring one of her interns in to attest to just how successful the program was in her own municipality.
The program offers hands-on experience in many diverse areas of the public sector, including public administration, accounting, engineering, public policy, human resources, communication and information, political science, and business. To award student interns and their hard work and dedication throughout their internship experience, NJMMA has created three annual awards for interns to be nominated for by their employers. The three awards that will be presented are:
- NJMMA Internship Award for Service - This award will be given to the intern who has contributed to or developed a new and innovative service not previously available in the municipality. It could be in any area of service to residents and one that has been instituted by the town as part of its services and activities. This could be the expansion of an existing service in a notable way or an entirely new service.
- NJMMA Internship Award for a Product - This award will be given to an intern who has created or developed a product that has been adopted by the municipality for its use. The product can be any device developed by or recommended by an intern that is not currently used by the town. The product should be related to increased effectiveness or enhanced efficiency.
- NJMMA Internship Award for a New Process/Procedure – This award will be given to an intern who creates or recommends a change in processes or procedures that increases the efficiency of the local jurisdiction and/or improves services to residents.