In 2015, I launched a pilot project called, the Mansfield City Council Internship Program. This program was intended to expand access to our local government and to increase transparency. Having first-hand experience serving as the first intern to the Office of Mayor for the City of Mansfield from 2008-2010 and then, as an intern for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in Washington, D.C. also in 2008; I wanted to create a program to transfer my learned skills to other folks interested in serving our city, and our country.
I’ve always had an interest to serve my country. However, because of illness and several major operations to remove a tumor on my neck; I was unable to join the United States Military. Thankfully, I have been able to serve in other ways and most recently, as a Member of the Mansfield City Council. Nevertheless, my service to the City of Mansfield spans nearly 10-years.
It has been during this period of time that I’ve become familiar to the needs of our city and especially regarding the concern of attracting and retaining young people to public service. People should know that government service is not to be taken lightly. As government officials and employees, our job is to serve the people and to improve the quality of life for Mansfield residents. This is why once I took office, I promised transparency and access to city government. In addition to my presence on social media and through my website; I wanted to expand this access to an entire generation of people who have not had much experience in the real-world.
The generation of people I’m speaking of are our young people. The Mansfield City Council Internship Program has served as a way to involve our younger generations into public service. I have brought forth two classes of City Council Interns and in process developed partnerships with The Ohio State University-Mansfield and Columbus and Ohio University. Additionally, I have allowed high-school students from Mansfield Senior High School job shadowing experience. Furthermore, each year, I participate on the career panel with The Ohio State University-Mansfield’s Career Introduction courses to provide college students with a basic understanding of the legislative process.
The Mansfield City Council Internship Program is an umbrella program for the entire City Council. There is no set standard curriculum required for the Council Members. I developed a curriculum for my office and I’ve entrusted it to the entire City Council for anyone to use if they want. But, each member of Council can do their own individual program if they choose. Members of Council have always had that option.
I’m not playing around when it comes to getting our next generation of leaders ready for tomorrow. Young people must be prepared to lead—there’s no sugarcoating that. Time goes by fast and it is my belief that the mission of training our young people is a priority. Although the program was originally developed for ages 18-24; it is NOT restricted to this age range. It could be available for any age group. Again, it's up to each individual Council Member, elected official, or department head. The bottom-line here is providing free education and experience for people who want it. NO COSTS TO THE CITY.
Please find below: The Mansfield City Council Internship Program workbook and the Reflections completed by the 2017 Class of Mansfield City Council Interns. As always, feel free to reach out to me via phone or e-mail or through social media to with any questions, comments or concerns.