Government Internship: The Cathy Shipley "Best and Brightest Internship" Program

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A cooperative endeavor of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, local jurisdictions, and the University of Colorado Denver Center for New Directions, the Cathy Shipley Best and Brightest Internship Program offers a scholarly introduction to state and local politics, together with professional development opportunities through hands-on experience as a paid governmental staff member in one of Colorado's small or rural jurisdictions.

While working, for example, as an assistant town manager, sustainability officer, or policy analyst, interns in this program contribute research on social, environmental, and economic issues facing small and rural communities across Colorado, while also working toward completion of the Master's degree, in flexible weekend courses.

Interns are compensated with a salary and benefits package of up to $42,000 per year

Internships are awarded annually to applicants enrolled in the CU Denver New Directions Masters Degree program, or who agree to enter that program prior to the internship beginning. Contact the New Directions Director, Dr. Minsun Ji,  for more information on how to apply.

“I owe everything to the New Directions Internship Program. I went from no experience in local gover nment to my first position as town manager in six months of my New Directions internship.  As I grew as a professional, New Directions provided me with practical knowledge and tools to become a better manager and leader. 10 years later, I still use New Directions material to teach veteran government practitioners." -Justin Clifton, City Manager, City of Sedona (AZ)

"Though my experience with the DOLA Best and Brightest Internship has been short, I can say without a doubt that it has been life changing in more ways than I can describe in a short paragraph. As a hands-on learner, being able to dive in and work with City Councilors, Mayors, County Commissioners, and City Administration have given me an avenue to apply my skill set learned through my Masters Program at CU Denver in real-time. Not only is this perfect to expand my career, but it is also personally fulfilling and immensely gratifying to know my work is directly related to improving the lives of people in the community I work in. If you value a future in public administration or community development, there isn't a program out there that would serve you better." -Matthew Gordon, Current Intern for City of Brush, CO

Student Internship with Community Organizations

New Directions offers an opportunity for students to work at a non-profit organization. Any New Directions student who is interested in non-profit organizations can apply for this internship, and a selected student for the internship will receive a scholarship of $7,000 to work 10-12 hours a week for a non-profit organization for nine months, or two semesters ( for instance, Fall and Spring semester). New Directions offers a scholarship of $7,000 which will cover a year's course work. The funding of $7,000 is offered by a partnership between New Directions and a partner organization as any interested non-profit organization will match $3,500 to get a student intern. Anyone who is interested in working for a non-profit should consider this student internship opportunity and each community partner can vary every year. Currently, we have various organizational partners who seek interns from New Directions. 

"Through my participation in the New Directions Program, I have had the opportunity to be a DOLA Best and Brightest Intern in the City of Idaho Springs, as well as an intern at the Urban Land Conservancy in Denver. These internships provided me with an opportunity to partially finance my education and living expenses while pursuing my Master's Degree, all while providing me with real-world experience to put what I am learning to practice. I can truly say that participating in my internships has provided me with a Tool Set that I will use for the rest of my professional career." -Jonathan Cain, Current MA student