The SFPUC’s eighth CityWorks Summer Internship Program flipped the script on Friday, June 14 as some of the top construction and engineering firms in the Bay Area pitched themselves – to interns.
The networking event served as the official launch of the paid summer internship program, giving 15 students from San Francisco’s Southeast neighborhoods real-world exposure to groundbreaking careers.
The paid internship program is made possible through a unique partnership between the SFPUC Social Impact Partnership Program, SFPUC’s private firm partners, and Young Community Developers (YCD).
“I’m super excited,” said CityWorks intern Hasana Robinson. “I’ve been interested in law and criminal justice and I thought it would really be important for me to broaden my horizons this summer and experience different career fields. I know other people who went through the program and they loved it, so I thought, ‘Why not just take a leap of faith and try it?’”
Robinson, who is a rising sophomore at City College of San Francisco, is one of the 15 Bayview-Hunters Point students who got a chance to interview prospective construction and engineering firms including AGS Inc., Brown and Caldwell, Carollo Engineers, CPM Partners, HDR Inc., Parsons, Swinerton, and Most Likely To in addition to the SFPUC. SFPUC’s private firm partners and SFPUC staff will mentor interns who have a diverse range of interests including engineering, communications, and marketing and will provide interns with six weeks of on-the-job experience.
“On a professional level I hope they really get an opportunity to develop technical skills and soft skills,” said David Gray, acting director of Community Benefits at the SFPUC. “On a personal level my hope is that the interns will walk away from this internship with the self-confidence and the belief that they have a right to be in these spaces. For a lot of our youth, this is their first time interning in a professional setting and at times, a lot of these spaces are predominately white spaces and predominately male spaces and these jobs can seem so far and so distant, not just physically.”
Since its inception in 2012, CityWorks has aimed to have a positive impact on Southeast communities that include Bayview-Hunters Point, Potrero Hill, Sunnydale and Visitacion Valley. The Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP) is investing over $2 billion to upgrade and modernize the Southeast Treatment Plant, San Francisco’s largest wastewater treatment plant that is located in Bayview-Hunters Point. The internship program has since worked to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities within the fields of architecture and urban design, engineering, finance and accounting, communications and government relations, and operations and environmental management. Over the last seven years, CityWorks has provided over 75 young adults with a chance to explore a world of opportunity.
“We just really hope to raise the bar every summer,” said Lindsey Lopez, CityWorks coordinator at YCD. “We want the internship to be more competitive every summer. We keep changing up the application process, adding GPA requirements, adding essay requirements, just making sure we have interns in here who are dedicated to bettering themselves professionally.”
Robinson said that she is dedicated to doing just that this summer. Although her interest has primarily been in law, she hopes that while she is still fresh in college and spending her summer with CityWorks, she can explore her other interests in public relations, community advocacy, communications, and environmental management.
“After I applied for CityWorks, I got the email and I was ecstatic,” said Robinson. “I was over the moon, like ‘Yes my summer is set!’ I was so excited to start this new journey and learn new things and make new friends and I’ve already done that here.”