As the American workforce ages and begins to retire, many areas including that of public service are going to be left with large numbers of vacancies and no one to fill them. In 2011, anticipating this very situation, the Institute for Public Service and its agencies created the Public Service Internship to develop young public servants.
The Public Service Internship was established for the purpose of giving students, interested in a career in public service, the opportunity to gain real-world experience. Internships are arranged for the fall, spring or summer semester. Since it was established, students from 10 different universities have served as interns with city and county governments across the state in a variety of departments. Several have gone on to full-time employment with the city or county in which they worked.
One such intern is Cody Wood, who received his undergraduate and his master’s degree from UT Martin. Wood, who was the first public service intern from UT Martin, was placed with the city of Lexington by Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) Finance and Accounting Program Manager Kay Stegall.
Wood worked with the city’s utility department during his internship. He was assigned financial analysis projects and discovered several areas where revenue was being lost. As a result, he worked with the utility manager and assistant manager to develop new billing methods and correct errors that helped increase revenues.
“As a result of Cody’s hard work he was hired into a fulltime position as a utility accountant with the city,” Stegall said. “This position had been vacant for almost six years and MTAS is proud to have been involved with getting the city and Cody together. We hope to see him there for many years to come.”
In 2014, the internship endowment received a generous $100,000 gift from the Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund and the Tennessee County Services Loan Program. The gift was earmarked for the internship programs at MTAS and the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS).