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And so we begin…

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By sakhan, on May 15, 2012

This past Monday, I officially began my internship with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Technically, I have been working part-time with NCACC since March, but there’s a special significance about being in the office and being full-time. This summer, I will spend ten weeks developing a business plan for a County Management Fellowship while serving as the “Special Assistant to the Deputy Director.” There are a number of things that attracted me to this position- for one, I spent the past year developing an unforeseen appreciation of local government and wanted my summer experience to help me expand on this interest. Luckily for me, NCACC is not only a great advocate of the UNC MPA program, but they also had a position available for someone to work exclusively on developing this business plan. Essentially, I not only get to be in an environment that fosters an appreciation of county government, but I also get to work on creating a plan so other students can appreciate county government, as well. I’d consider that a win-win situation.

I spent a few months conducting background research for the business plan during the semester. In this process, I researched a number of other fellowships and internships that promote local government.  While there are a number of fellowships that exist, both locally and nationally, my next mission is to understand how this fellowship could be different from those and whether it is feasible to consider working together with existing programs. One of the most exciting aspects of this process is trying to understand what motivates students to want to work in local government and how that motivation can be fueled into North Carolina counties. Personally, I saw my interest in local government expand throughout the semester as I was exposed to the different services that local governments provide and their capacity for impacting communities. I am interested in seeing how I can use my own experiences as a catalyst for this project and potentially create a lasting product for NCACC.

Alongside this project, I also am very excited to be exposed to the legislative side of local governance.  It turns out my  first blog post coincides with the first day of the 2012 legislative short session so there will be ample opportunities to sit in on meetings and to witness the advocacy efforts of NCACC on behalf of North Carolina counties. Since we are often so engrained in the administrative side of local government within the MPA program, it’s a unique opportunity to witness the policy making side in action, as well. More importantly, I’m particularly interested in seeing how NCACC ties together interests of a diverse group of counties and prioritizes which issues are worth their time and effort.  And I’ll be honest…I’m anticipating a bit of excitement and intensity during the next few weeks as well, which always provides ample entertainment…and learning opportunities.

Tags: UNC MPA, advocacy, education, fellowships, local government management | Categories: NCACC | No Comments
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