Internship Program Background
In 1998, CCRH launched the Rural California Internship Program for Diversity in Nonprofit Housing and Community Development to provide university students with training opportunities in nonprofit affordable housing and community development work. The program’s vision rests on the notion that in order to effectively build healthy California rural communities, the field’s leadership must reflect the cultural and linguistic needs of California’s rural populations. Today, as we implement our 15th Annual Program year, the Internship Program remains committed to preparing tomorrow’s leaders for the challenges that lie ahead for our state’s housing and community development, and reaching new heights by piloting our model in Washington State and Oregon. The program is administered by CCRH, which is based in Sacramento. Host agencies are located throughout California and this year for the fist time in the history of the Program in rural Washington State and Oregon.
Since the program’s inception, nearly 92 students have graduated from the program with more than 50% staying in the field of Community Development and holding highly responsible positions.
In 2001, CCRH was granted $540,000 for three years by USDA’s Fund for Rural America to continue and expand our Internship Program for Diversity in Nonprofit Housing and Community Development. Citi Foundation and Wells Fargo Bank have provided funding support since 2004, NeighborWorks America since 2007, and most recently Rural LISC. Originally underwritten by the Bank of America Community Development Bank, since 1998 this innovative program has trained and funded approximately 92 interns at 20 host agencies serving rural parts of the West. Among the 92 interns who have graduated, more than half have remained in the housing and community development field. The program fills a critical void in the ability of rural development organizations to recruit, educate, and retain future professionals.
The Internship Program is a one-year paid Internship designed to increase the staff diversity within the Affordable Housing and Community Development field and assist in meeting the diverse needs of the communities served throughout the rural West, including its emerging areas. The program requires a full year commitment. CCRH is active in recruiting, training and retaining students who may not otherwise know about the field, and people who reflect the rural West’s diverse cultural and linguistic demographics. Most universities do not offer an undergraduate degree in the field, thus, the program also serves as a critical pathway for students to pursue professional positions in the field while simultaneously developing a pool of candidates from whom to recruit from for longer term professional positions. CCRH gives high priority to students completing their junior year or entering their last year of undergraduate studies at four year universities so that upon graduating from college, they may be able to be employed in entry level professional positions in the field.
How The Internship Works: The Nuts And Bolts
There are three main entities that make up the program: the Intern, CCRH, and the Host Agency.
CCRH is a nonprofit organization that serves as the Program Administrator and coordinator of the statewide program (we are not a public agency). CCRH sponsors the program and coordinates all supplemental program related activities and trainings.
The Host Agency is the location where each Intern carries out his/her day-to-day work. Each year, an average of ten of California’s leading nonprofit affordable housing builders participate as host agencies. Interns are selected via a competitive application process from across the state, and placed with a host agency for one year, beginning work in the summer (full-time) and continuing through the spring (part-time).
The intern works closely with a supervisor and follows an Intern Work Plan that provides a well-rounded intern experience in the field of nonprofit affordable housing and community development. All agencies target low-income people and are actively working in rural California communities. Selected interns are placed at host agencies located within driving distance to the university in which they attend. All selected interns become a part of CCRH’s Internship Program, and while Interns attend various universities and carryout their internships at various host organizations, CCRH undertakes steps needed to ensure that each intern gains basic common training skills in the field and gains the opportunity to obtain the professional experience needed to pursue a career in the field after graduation from the program. CCRH remains in very close communication with Interns and Host Agencies regularly. Each Host Agency provides the day-to-day hands on training and direction to each intern via a customized scope of work designed by the Host Agency in consultation with CCRH. The Host Agency is officially the employer of the intern. Interns and host agencies sign agreements with CCRH to ensure understanding of the program terms and policies, and to ensure an optimal experience for the Intern and the Host Agency. In general, during the course of the year, the Intern will actively be involved in the following areas.
Development of Affordable Housing: learn hands on what it takes to undertake community development work and create affordable healthy living communities, and specifically learn the intricacies of developing housing developments from concept inception to construction completion for low-income and ethnically diverse communities.
Project Financing: learn financial proforma development and monitoring; securing development financing, including preparing finance applications to public and private lenders; undertaking loan closings.
Land Use Issues: learn real estate site analysis, site acquisition (site control usually through purchase), and environmental assessments.
Political and Social Issues: assist with obtaining local government approvals; assist with organizing low-income people for project development interactive workshops to educate them about projects and solicit design/development input; coordinate community participation meetings; assist with coordinating community acceptance strategies (ie. convincing people that housing for low-income people is valuable and needed in the community.
Community Development Leadership Shadowing: participate in leadership shadowing by accompanying their Executive Director to key meetings in order to observe community leadership activities that expose the Intern to “big picture” Community Development issues, such policy development, advocacy, community collaboratives, etc.
Activities and Other Opportunities
The Intern’s Program year will include a variety of pre-professional and personal skills development opportunities. Interns also get to know their other peer group members these activities and develop strong long-lasting relationships as a result of the work and activities that occur over the year. Some of these opportunities include:
Summer Training Institute. Interns begin the program working at their host agencies and then shortly thereafter attend an intensive one-week training where professionals from the industry teach various affordable housing and community development topics. The intense week-long training also provides personal development tools (such as communication and negotiation techniques) that Interns can use in their professional and personal lives. The Institute activities helps Interns to get to know each other on a personal level and forge bonding relationships with one another, so that they are feel comfortable communicating and confiding in via the internet/telephone they return home to various parts of the state. The Summer Institute occurs at UC Davis where all interns are hosted by CCRH.
CCRH Rural Housing Summit. Interns have the opportunity to attend and participate in CCRH’s renowned Annual rural Housing Summit which usually occurs in October.
The Mid-Winter Training/Retreat. In January or February, interns take two-days in a relaxed setting to participate in a skills development/retreat where they reflect on their intern experience and gain additional community development tools.
Enrichment Opportunities. Interns are regularly informed of community development events and news via our Intern email communications via CCRH’s Program Coordinator, and attend at least one California regional housing conference. Some Host Agency’s sponsor their respective Intern to other non-CCRH trainings, such as the Neighborhood Reinvestment Conference, Housing Assistance Council conference, etc. (depends on Host Agency).
Final Project. Interns culminate the program with the presentation of a development project they have worked on during the year where they have to convince a mock City Council that their development project is feasible.
Graduation. The successful Intern graduates participate in a special graduation ceremony at a venue in Sacramento in April or May when the Intern program year is in its final month and occurs simultaneously with Housing California Conference. The graduation is attended by nonprofit leaders from across the state.
Resources and Employment Opportunities after Graduation. CCRH staff aggressively promotes the employment of graduating interns. Staff actively connect graduating interns with nonprofits who have jobs available and vice versus via direct dialogues with its nonprofit network. On a longer term basis, CCRH keeps a data base of graduating Interns on file and regularly forwards job announcements and resources to the group. CCRH staff often serve as references for Intern graduates.
Internship Program Term And Pay
Submission date applications will be accepted until positions are filled (Early submissions encouraged).
The term of the program is for one year and the Internship starts as early as June 1 of each year and ends May 31 of the following year. Interns are expected to start no later than July 1 (all work site locations are within driving distance to the university in which the student attends so no relocation needs to occur for this program). The pay range is between $12.00 to $14.00 per hour, depending on geographic location. For external CCRH program sponsored trainings, CCRH pays for all intern lodging and meals per CCRH guidelines.
Who Should Apply
All applicants must be full-time students of the current academic year and must be enrolled full-time in the fall term of the following academic year. Some locations require that the Intern have access to a vehicle in order to carryout the day-to-day duties of the work. Preference is given to those who are completing their junior year in college, want to pursue a career in the nonprofit housing and community development field, are from rural, farm worker or low-income backgrounds, and demonstrate a commitment to improve the quality of life of low-income and rural communities. The program encourages applications from various majors.