Minnesota Department of Human Services

Internship Location: Remote

Organization Type: State Government

Policy Areas: Consulting/Government Relations/Health/Housing/Social Welfare

This summer I interned at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) with the Community Relations team. The Community Relations team works to ensure authentic community engagement guides DHS budget, policy, and program decisions as well as supports efforts to build relationships, both internally and externally, to increase shared decision making between DHS and community partners. Throughout my internship, my tasks varied every week, some of which included preparing written documents and resources (ie. public engagement reports, project presentations, communication memos, etc.) to support the Community Relations team, participating in strategic planning meetings for upcoming community engagement activities, and working with the Communications team to utilize social media platforms for collaborating with community partners. I wrote weekly reports for the Governor’s Office on public engagement events happening across DHS in which I was able to gain insight on what community engagement looked like in public administration at a state agency. I also had the opportunity to support the Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council (CECLC), a council created to advise the commissioner of human services on reducing racial disparities. From my internship experience at DHS, I learned valuable lessons about relationship building and collaborative work within a state agency as well as the challenges and strategies of integrating community engagement into decision making processes. I strengthened my verbal and written communication skills as well as gained skills in project management such as efficiently and effectively prioritizing multiple tasks and deadlines.