The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is offering high school students around the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area the opportunity to gain professional-level experience this coming summer in transportation planning, engineering and related fields through its High School Internship Program. Conceived in 2000 to encourage young people to consider careers in transportation, the internship program is now accepting applications for 34 paid summer jobs with a variety of local public transit agencies, city planning departments and public works agencies throughout the region.
Students will be employed, either full-time or part-time, for up to 250 hours between June and August under the mentorship of a transportation professional at the public agency. Students hired through the program are expected to attend an orientation session in late June as well as a wrap-up session in mid-August where they will present highlights of their work over the summer. Both events will take place at MTC’s offices at 375 Beale Street, in the SoMa area of San Francisco.
“We often see an amazing transformation over the course of the summer,” said MTC Recruiting Manager Ann Macaulay. “At the orientation in June, the students tend to be shy and a bit nervous about what they’re going to encounter at their jobs. But at the closing session, they are bursting with pride about what they’ve accomplished, and with confidence in their ability to communicate about their experience in front of their peers, supervisors and mentors.”
Previous interns have left the program with skills in such areas as marketing, public outreach, data analysis, AutoCAD and GIS (geographic information systems). The internship program not only helps students build technical skills and experience in an office environment, but also exposes them to the job application process. Applicants compete with other students for a position and answer typical job application questions, with many of them going through a formal interview process at the public agency doing the hiring. They will also receive direct mentorship by the professionals at the agency.
“This year we have a variety of different positions that will help students gain those technical and interpersonal skills — anywhere from internships for students interested in civil engineering or environmental issues, to students interested in exploring careers in social media, website maintenance, event coordination or accounting,” said MTC High School Internship Coordinator Manisha Davesar. “I think it is really important for students, at a young age, to explore all their career and educational options. I had the opportunity and privilege to do so during my undergraduate years, and am now on a path that I know I want to pursue.”
Davesar noted that the internships give students essential real-world experience in an area with high job demand and competition. The internships also allow students to make connections and seek recommendation letters for college applications and future job opportunities.
Thirty paid internships are available in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties. A list of internship opportunities and the online application are available here.
The interns earn between $13 and $14 per hour, with their wages paid by MTC. To apply, students should submit the completed application online, including an attached one-page letter that describes in the applicant’s own words a transportation problem in his or her community and what the applicant thinks could be done to resolve it. A letter or letters of recommendation from a teacher, principal, counselor, religious leader or employer also must be included. For students with a GPA higher than 2.8, only one letter of recommendation is required; for students with a GPA lower than 2.8, two letters of recommendation are required. Students can only apply for internships in the county where they live and go to school; must have completed 10th grade; and must be at least 16 years old by the start of the program in June. Students graduating in 2017 also are eligible to apply for the internships. The application must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, May 15, 2017.
MTC is the regional transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.