Overview

The Municipal Internship Program is Canada’s largest and longest running program of its kind. The program is a partnership between participating municipal organizations and Alberta Municipal Affairs, and provides support to municipalities and planning service agencies to build capacity in the municipal sector by developing recent post-secondary graduates to become future leaders in municipal government.

Through hands-on, real life work experience, professional development and mentoring over an 18-month period, interns have received a solid foundation for careers in municipal administration, finance or land use planning. Since the Municipal Internship Program was reintroduced in 2002, more than 330 interns and 100 municipalities have participated. More than half of these program alumni continue to work in Alberta’s municipal sector.

New for 2022

For the 2022 program, the ministry is introducing an exciting enhancement to provide consistency and continuity across the three program streams. Internships will be 18 months in length regardless of stream, with a one-time grant provided to assist hosts with costs to support an intern. Intern cohorts will start and finish their program together, and both hosts and interns can plan experiences, projects, training and professional development knowing the 18-month term is guaranteed.

The ministry’s program team will continue to provide robust and comprehensive resources, learning sessions, coaching and guidance to support interns’ leadership and competency development.

Benefits of hosting an intern

Interns bring knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm that helps to build capacity and rejuvenate the municipal government sector. Interns can bring numerous benefits to a municipality, including:

  • New ideas and perspectives
  • New energy, eagerness, and initiative
  • Willingness to learn and excel in the profession
  • Creativity and enthusiasm
  • Strong research skills
  • High computer literacy and knowledge of technology applications
  • Great ambassadors for working in municipal government; in particular, your municipality

Responsibilities of the host municipality

Hosting an intern is a significant commitment requiring municipal finance and staff resources, time and a focus on learning and development. The program is not considered a temporary employment opportunity, but rather an opportunity help build the administrative capacity of local governments in Alberta.

Municipalities have four main responsibilities in fulfilling their role as a host:

Appreciation

The focus of the program is for the intern to gain an understanding and appreciation of municipal government and, depending on the stream of the program, the roles and responsibilities related to the chief administrative officer, finance officer, or planner. Interns are also expected to learn about the relationship between the different departments and functions of the municipality and how each contributes to the municipality as a whole. Interns are not expected to become “experts” in any one area of municipal administration/finance/planning during their internship. Therefore, interns rotate to various functional areas in the organization to help develop a broad understanding of municipal government.

Workplan

The Internship Workplan (PDF, 367 KB) provides a framework of recommended activities and experiences to assist hosts and interns with planning a variety of work experiences across departments and functional areas of the municipality. Feedback about the workplan was gathered from municipal professionals in the field who felt the recommended activities would provide interns a solid introduction to municipal government operations and management. Hosts are expected to implement the Internship Workplan and supplement it with activities, projects and experiences unique to their organizations.

Experiential learning

Interns appreciate and benefit from having opportunities to have hands-on work, participate in projects, and contribute their skills to help their host organizations achieve their priorities and meet community needs. When determining the intern’s activities, it is important to remember that while taking part in specific hands-on activities is an effective method of teaching the intern the “what” and “how” of municipal operations, it is also essential interns have the opportunity to learn “why” things are done and the impact of them on the organization as a whole. Having time to reflect on experiences through conversations with the supervisor, other staff members, and mentors is as important as the work experiences.

Professional development

Interns should be coached and mentored in areas such as building competencies, networking, and career development. They should be encouraged to pursue learning and development in areas of interest that would also benefit the municipality. Learning and development opportunities can help build capacity and develop networks. Program requirements include attendance at a minimum of either the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention or the Rural Municipalities of Alberta convention, one other conference, and one course for the intern.

Internship streams

  • Administrator Stream

    Interns in this stream complete rotations across most departments and functional areas in the municipality, participating in a wide variety of tasks and projects, and exploring potential career paths in their area(s) of interest. Interns in this stream will focus on building skills and knowledge in policy, management and municipal operations. The goal is to develop the intern’s knowledge and understanding of multiple areas of municipal administration that can be built upon as the intern’s career progresses beyond the internship.

    Responsibilities and activities

    Responsibilities and activities for interns in this role include, but are not limited to:

    • participating in management team and stakeholder meetings
    • presenting to council and/or committees
    • developing and reviewing bylaws and policies
    • leading and managing projects
    • solving problems that affect the community
    • job shadowing management and staff in a variety of departments or functional areas in the organization
  • Finance Officer stream

    Interns in this stream focus on developing competency across the roles found within the finance department, becoming familiar with other key departments and functional areas in the municipality, participating in a wide variety of tasks and projects, and exploring potential career paths in their area(s) of interest. Interns in this stream will focus on building skills and knowledge in accounting and finance.

    The goal is to provide the intern a strong foundation in municipal accounting and finance while also getting exposure to other municipal departments.

    Responsibilities and activities

    Responsibilities and activities for interns in this role include, but are not limited to:

    • budget forecasting and discussions with council and management
    • preparing payroll
    • processing accounts payable and accounts receivable
    • producing financial reports
    • preparing financial records for audit
    • supporting procurement initiatives
    • strategic financial initiatives including policy

    Interns in this stream may pursue their Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation during their internship. Host municipalities may be required to offer work and responsibilities that meet’s CPA’s Experience Verification Route requirements.

  • Land Use Planner stream

    Interns in this stream focus on developing competency as a land use planner, becoming familiar with other key departments and functional areas in the municipality, participating in a wide variety of tasks and projects, and exploring potential areas of specialization in the planning field. The goal is to provide a strong foundation in major planning areas in both current and long-range planning. Interns in this stream will focus on building skills and knowledge in planning and development.

    Interns in this stream may pursue their Registered Professional Planner designation during their internship. Host municipalities may be required to offer work and responsibilities that meet the logbook requirements for the Professional Standards Boards for the Planning Profession in Canada.

    Responsibilities and activities

    Responsibilities and activities for interns in this role can include, but are not limited to:

    • reviewing and amending the municipality's existing land use bylaw
    • reviewing existing or developing new statutory plans including, municipal development plans and area structure plans
    • reviewing development and/or subdivision applications
    • planning and conducting community consultations or engagements for development proposals
    • conducting subdivision and development appeal board hearings
    • enforcing stop orders and other compliance mechanisms

Eligibility

Host municipalities are not permitted to hire an existing or recent employee as their municipal intern. The only exceptions are if the employee worked as a summer student, casual employee (employee on a call-in basis or irregular hours), or a co-op student. All intern candidates must submit an application package and be shortlisted to be available as an intern, including those covered by these exceptions.

Administrator Stream

  • The municipality has a population between 700 and 75,000
  • A strong council-administration relationship exists and there is strong commitment from both groups to have an intern
  • There is an ability to provide training in a wide range of municipal functions
  • The CAO or a senior manager agrees to serve as the intern supervisor for the duration of the program
  • There is an organizational commitment to the Internship Program’s vision and goals
  • There is an interest in sharing knowledge and experiences with the intern and working with the intern to complete the Intern Workplan
  • A sufficient commitment of resources, both financial and staff

Finance Officer Stream

  • The municipality has a population between 2,500 and 125,000
  • A strong council-administration relationship exists and there is strong commitment from both groups to have an intern
  • There is an ability to provide in-depth training in municipal finance and an exposure to other departments within the municipality
  • A senior level finance officer agrees to serve as the intern supervisor for the duration of the program
  • There is an organizational commitment to the Internship Program’s vision and goals
  • There is an interest in sharing knowledge and experiences with the intern and working with the intern to complete the Intern Workplan
  • A sufficient commitment of resources, both financial and staff

Land Use Planner Stream

  • The municipality has a population between 5,000 and 125,000
  • The planning service agency (which must be municipally-owned) works with one to three of its member municipalities to provide first-hand planning experience in a municipality
  • The host has a planning department that undertakes in-house the full range of planning services outlined in the Intern Workplan or partner with a neighbouring municipality to be able to do so
  • A senior planner agrees to serve as the intern supervisor for the duration for the program
  • The intern has access to a planner with an RPP designation to be able to sign off the intern’s Logbook requirements for accreditation
  • A strong relationship exists between the administration and planning department and there is strong commitment from CAO/Director, council, board, and management team to have an intern
  • There is an organizational commitment to the Internship Program’s vision and goals
  • There is an interest in sharing knowledge and experiences with the intern and working with the intern to complete the Workplan
  • A sufficient commitment of resources, both financial and staff

When thinking about whether your organization would like to host an intern, it is important to consider the following:

  • Does your organization have the capacity to train an intern in all areas included in the Intern Workplan, or can you partner with a neighbouring organization to do so?
  • Are you able to commit the time and resources (both funding and staff) to support an intern?
  • What can your organization offer to an intern to assist them in pursuing a career in local government?
  • Is a senior manager available to supervise an intern and what professional, supervisory and mentoring skills does this person possess that will help him/her be an effective supervisor?
  • Is there a qualified backup supervisor who can supervise an intern in case the primary supervisor is not available (for example, vacation, or leaves the organization)?
  • Is there support from both the council and administration for hosting an intern?

Municipal partnerships and co-hosts

You are welcome to partner with another municipality to host an intern, either formally or informally.

Formal partnerships

In a formal partnership, the municipalities indicate which municipality will be the Managing Partner for the internship. The Managing Partner:

  • must have a population that falls within the population range specified for the program
  • will be responsible for all administrative requirements of the program and ensuring the intern completes the Internship Workplan
  • submits the grant application on behalf of the partnering municipalities and the application should clearly outline what role each of the municipalities would play in hosting an intern.

Planning service agencies are required to partner with 1 to 3 member municipalities to provide the intern with first hand planning experience and exposure to other municipal departments. It is important for land use planner interns to have the opportunity to learn about the broader municipal operations to help them understand where the work of the planning department intersects with other departments.

Partnerships may allow municipalities who receive their planning services from an intermunicipal planning service agency the opportunity to partner with that agency to provide an intern with direct municipal planning experience.

Informal partnerships

Informal partnerships are also a valuable arrangement for interns. If your municipality is selected to host an intern, you are encouraged to make arrangements for your intern to spend time in other municipalities in your area to gain a broader understanding of local government. You do not need to submit a joint proposal with another municipality for an informal partnership; however, your plans could be outlined in your application.

Application process and timeline

Application process

The Municipal Internship Program is made possible through grants from the Alberta Community Partnership (ACP) program. Information on grant funding, grant requirements and other grant-related information can be found on the Alberta Community Partnership page under the 2021-2022 Alberta Community Partnership Guidelines.

Apply to Host in the 2022 Program

All applications must be submitted through ACP Online (ACPO); access is through the MAConnect Portal at https://www.maconnect.alberta.ca.

Host recruitment timeline

There are several important dates that prospective host municipalities and organizations should keep in mind. Please note Municipal Affairs may change any of the dates listed should it become necessary to do so, and will update this page as appropriate.

  • October 15, 2021

    Deadline for host applications for the 2022 Municipal Internship Program.

  • October 2021

    Applications are reviewed and evaluated by ministry staff.

  • November to December 2021

    Host municipalities and organizations selected and are approved by Minister.

    Ministry staff will work with the approved host municipalities on intern recruitment materials, including profiles of host municipalities.

  • January 4, 2022

    Intern applications will be accepted between January 4, 2022 and February 11, 2022.

  • February to March 2022

    Intern applications are screened by ministry staff to ensure candidates meet program eligibility requirements. Each host organization will receive applications from those candidates who expressed interest in working for that municipality.

  • April 25, 2022 to May 31, 2022

    Interns start their internships during this period.

Contact

Connect with the Internship and Education team at Alberta Municipal Affairs:

Phone: 780-427-2225
Email: [email protected]

Address:
Municipal Internship Program
Alberta Municipal Affairs
17th Floor, Commerce Place
10155 102 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4L4

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