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Oak Park Starts Internship Program

Oak Park Starts Internship ProgramHowesLocation

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 11, 2014)

Spending five weeks working in the City of Oak Park may not seem like an exciting way to spent the summer, but for Darlene White, Otniel Chis, and Mark Castillo it could be a stepping stone on the path to greatness.

Or at least it could be the start of a great new program for the city. “I’m proud to say at least as far as I know this will be our first formal internship that we’re kicking off this summer,” said City Manager Eric Tungate.

The first three interns, coming from Wayne State, are part of Oak Park’s pilot program which could grow to include more student involvement in city projects. “The interns are working on a series of assigned projects. A few examples include, in Economic Development, developing an updated list of available dinos02sidelogo3commercial properties throughout the city and in Communications, redesigning our welcome packet for new residents,” he said. There is also an intern in the Recreation Department, helping the City’s new Recreation Director Julie Hall as she jumps into a busy summer. The interns were recognized at the last City Council Meeting, where they posed for pictures with the City Council, Mayor, City Manager and Department Heads. White is working in Communications, Chis is working in Economic Development and Castillo is working in Recreation.

Tungate said the idea came about as part of the City’s Strategic Planning Process. “We decided the city needed to formalize its relationships with student groups. They do not technically save the city money although we are able to take on certain projects that might otherwise be delayed,” he said.sidebar012stairs

The internships are good for the students too. The City Manager recalled how an internship helped him develop the skills he uses today in his profession. “I completed an internship at Ford Motor Company while completing my MBA. It was an amazing experience. I gained a tremendous amount of insight into the real life dealings of a major corporation,” he said. “Internships are good for the students because they demonstrate they have experience working in the public sector. Their odds of gaining employment when they graduate increase substantially.”

The internship program is one of several new happenings in the City. New tavern licenses allow for beer and wine sales in restaurants, outdoor dining is now on the menu for city businesses, there is a new civic center complex, and the recently elected Mayor Marian McClellan and the recently hired City Manager Tungate are both visible in the community. Oak Park residents will also have a local ordinance on the ballot in August to legalize personal amounts of marijuana.

For other Oak Park stories, see our Oak Park section at

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