WESTFIELD, NJ — The town of Westfield officially launched its inaugural Town Hall Internship Program Monday with 33* students from Westfield High School.
The program aims to provide WHS students with valuable experience on the community level. Students are expected to work for two to four hours a week for the duration of the program. High schoolers in all grades were invited to take part.
Interns will be able to work in committees best suited to their interests, such as Downtown Westfield Corporation, Historic Preservation Commission, Finance and Library Board, Media Committee and Tech committees. Interns will work under the supervision of their respective committee advisers, who will provide the students with guidance and advice in their tasks.
“Interns can always ask adviser on questions or comments in their work,” said Rupa Motwani, one of the people instrumental in starting the program. “Advisers can bring interns to meetings of that particular group so they can see how their work fits into the large scheme of things.”
The program may also provide speakers to enhance to the learning experience over the course of the internship.
“Take for example our tech committee,” Motwani said. “Our tech council is filled with pretty accomplished people who work in private industries, so we want a speaker series from different industries.”
The program was inspired by Mayor Shelley Brindle’s positive experience working with high schoolers during her mayoral campaign. Brindle said she looks forward to give students an enriching experience.
“Students get to see their local government in action and get hands-on experience and learning about how it works while getting an opportunity to make a difference in their own community,” Brindle said. “I hope this experience will engage a new generation of residents into the success of their community so that Westfield will be a place they want to return after college and beyond.”
The program currently closed to applications, but will be open again to Westfield High School students this coming September.
“The program will be a wonderful opportunity not only for the students to learn about the processes and tasks necessary to operate local government, but for the students to use their unique skills to help serve their community,” said Lisa Mandelblatt, who is running the program. “Going forward, the internship program will line up with the high school semesters and our next open enrollment will take place in September. We look forward to the program growing and adapting, while continuing to serve the needs of Westfield and her residents.”
Daniel Han is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.
*Correction: In March, Mayor Brindle announced that 48 students had joined the internship program. On Tuesday, TAPinto Westfield learned that the number now participating was 33. This story has been changed to reflect the new number.