Atlanta Regional Commission Internship

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In 2009, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) launched the voluntary Green Communities Certification program for jurisdictions in the 10‐county Atlanta Region to encourage local governments to become more sustainable. ARC developed the program to assist cities and counties in reducing their overall environmental impact. While working with the program’s applicants, ARC staff discovered that many local governments want to be more environmentally responsible, but they often lack the staff resources to research, develop and implement new sustainability initiatives.

ARC’s Sustainable Connections Internship program seeks to connect the wealth of talented university students in the region with local governments in need of sustainability programming assistance.

The internship program will: 

  • Engage students in meaningful work with cities and counties so that they can obtain hands‐on experience and build relationships with local government and sustainability professionals.
  • Connect students working toward sustainability careers with a network where they can share experiences and insights.
  • Help cities and counties obtain assistance with sustainability initiatives that they may not otherwise have the time or resources to complete on their own.

Sustainable Connections will go beyond a traditional internship format by connecting interns with each other, as well as with local governments. Students will be required to attend connection events throughout the semester where they will network, discuss readings relevant to local government sustainability and hear from key regional sustainability leaders.  Students will present their final work products at the Sustainable Connections Symposium to an audience of their peers, local government colleagues, academic and sustainability advisors, as well as members of the ARC Board and staff. These interactions will help inform and energize their work with their respective communities and within their field of study.

Examples of potential environmental sustainability projects:

  •  Green Communities documentation
  •  Education & Outreach strategies
  •  Citizen surveys
  •  Best practice research
  •  Performance measurement
  •  Feasibility studies
  • Action plans & implementation
  •  Citizens academies


The Green Communities Manual provides examples of specific sustainability measures that local governments may use to guide their proposals. Projects may be focused on waste reduction and recycling, green building, energy efficiency, green power, water conservation, air quality and transportation, land use, trees and greenspace, and employee and community education.

Minimum Qualifications

Students must be in good standing with a participating university pilot partner (Agnes Scott College, Emory University, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech or Spelman College). Program is open to third‐year undergraduate through first‐year graduate school students. Must have GPA 2.75 or higher (some exceptions may be made).  Must apply for internship credit if not seeking a paid internship

What majors should apply to the Sustainable Connections Internship Program?

Students from any major with an interest in environmental sustainability, local government operations and public service are encouraged to apply.

How are interns placed?

Students meeting the minimum qualifications who submit a completed application package may be invited for an in‐person interview with ARC staff. Students will then be matched with jurisdictions based on their educational background, expertise and academic/professional goals. Additionally, considerations will be made based on geographic location and ability to travel. In the event that there are more student applicants than participating local governments, students may be deferred to the following academic year.

Will I be paid or receive a stipend?

Participants will not receive a stipend but some of the internships will be paid at a rate of $12/hour (undergraduate level) and $14/hour (graduate level). If paid, students will be expected to work at least 10 hours each week for 13 weeks each semester (fall 2016 and spring 2017.) If unpaid, students will be expected to register for course credit and meet the internship work hour requirements for those credits. If you receive need‐based financial aid, please talk to a representative at your institution’s financial aid office to determine how and if a paid internship will impact your aid package.

Important Dates

 April 2016 – Application Period Opens
 June 2, 2016 – Application Deadline
 June 2016 – Interviews Conducted with Students
 July 10, 2016 – Matches Notified
 August 2016 – Internship Begins
 May 2017 – Internship Ends (May be continued into summer if the intern and local government agree.)

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  • Created By:
    Amy D'Unger
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  • Modified By:
    Fletcher Moore
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