City of Madison

Image: Department of Civil Rights



2017 Applications available now through April 9! Apply online!

2017 AASPIRE internships are offered through several agencies:

  • Traffic Engineering
  • Planning Division
  • Mayor's Office
  • Library
  • Information Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Fire Department
  • Engineering Division
  • Community Development Division

Internships with the City of Madison

Please Note:
AASPIRE Internships will be limited in number and will be for a temporary period of eight to nine weeks in duration. Each placement will be made very carefully on the basis of a match between the program objectives, the applicant's course work or career history, interests, and the operations of each agency.

Diverse People


The City of Madison's Affirmative Action Division, in concert with City Managers, sponsors internships to attract members of Affirmative Action target groups who are engaged in college level studies compatible with a Public Administration career track. Internship consideration will also be given for individuals who have experienced a period of long-term unemployment or underemployment. Approval will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Director of the Department of Civil Rights. The individuals that are selected will be hired as City employees in the hourly classification of Management Intern 1.

The purposes of this program are to:

  1. Provide a beneficial mentoring experience to managers who are selected to supervise AASPIRE interns.
  2. Provide a City-wide project that encourages interdepartmental cooperation toward the accomplishment of an optional Affirmative Action Initiative.
  3. Provide Affirmative Action target group individuals who are selected for AASPIRE internships with a meaningful exposure to Public Administration careers.
  4. Provide the City with a future professional applicant pool of highly qualified Affirmative Action Target Group members.


AASPIRE Internships will be limited in number and will be for a temporary period of 8 to 9 weeks in duration. Each placement will be made very carefully on the basis of a match between an Intern's course work or career history and interests, and the operations of an agency.

Management officials who wish to sponsor an Intern must be devoted to the concept of serving as a guide and a mentor. The internships will be heavily focused on exposure to divisional operating procedures and policies. This exposure will include attendance at departmental management team and staff meetings. It is recommended that observational activities may be preceded by an information sharing session to explain the purpose and objectives of time spent. Time should also be taken to review the intern's understanding of where a Department or Division fits into the City organizational structure. Information should be shared to expose the intern to departmental funding sources and related administrative guidelines (e.g., City Ordinances or other laws, personnel procedures, collective bargaining agreements, etc).

The intern should be assigned to activities that will foster an understanding of the operations unit to which he/she has been assigned as well as provide insight as to how City operations work together to produce the organizational whole.

Under no circumstances will the AASPIRE Intern be assigned to only one operating task or to clerical duties. Duties and assignments will be rotated in keeping with a pre-established plan that will promote professional development.

In order to participate in this process, Department and Division heads are requested to submit an application to the Affirmative Action Division. Clarifying information may be obtained through Colier McNair at (608) 266-6510. The application must clearly describe the manager's plan to develop the intern's understanding of public administration and organization. The narrative description should include what activities will be assigned and should explain the proposed objectives and goals and the timetable within which each activity is projected to be accomplished.


  • Management Benefits: City Management officials who are selected to host AASPIRE Program Interns will gain the experience and understanding necessary to develop and guide an individual who is from a background that may be unlike the background of existing managers. While serving as mentors to individuals from diverse backgrounds, managers will also experience the fulfillment of facilitating a college student’s introduction to employment opportunities within the public sector.
  • Student Intern Benefits: AASPIRE Program Interns will be provided with an environment in which it will be possible to explore and hopefully establish career goals. Interns will acquire practical experience with the art of engaging in the employment interview process. Interns will gain exposure to managerial operations and to the organizational structures of government agencies. Interns will also be provided with meaningful work experience activities that will be individually tailored to cultivate their specific areas of interests.
  • City Benefits: The City of Madison can hope to gain future employment candidates who are familiar with the City government structure and functions. This initiative will also foster greater collaboration between the City agencies that choose to participate in this project.


The intern assignment should revolve around specific activities. If at all possible, the intern will be assigned to work on a limited term project with defined objectives. The assignments must foster the application of professional levels of skill and responsibility and may not be only one operating task or clerical duties.

Exposure to Managerial/Policy-Setting Operations and Activities:

Professional assignments should be designed to foster the intern's understandings of his/her working unit, the City of Madison organizational structure and how the work of City operations are interdependent. Where possible, the intern will be permitted to observe at administrative task force and policy development meetings (which might include staff committees or citizen oversight commissions).


Public Policy and Administrative Oversight:

During the course of the program, the intern will have the opportunity to observe one Department/Division Head meeting. Managers will be notified of the scheduled date for interns to attend. In the event that managers will not be able to attend the scheduled Department/Division Directors meeting, managers will have the option of having the Affirmative Action Director accompany the intern to this meeting in their place.

In order that the AASPIRE Internship experience can offer insight as to the political realities of administrative oversight to government services, the interns will receive an audience with the Mayor. This meeting will be scheduled to ensure that every intern can participate and to allow the interns a modicum of time to learn about their respective assignments and organizational units. The actual meeting with the Mayor will occur as a group.

Affirmative Action Division Retreat/Reception:

The Affirmative Action Division will host a Retreat/Reception for the interns. The purpose of this event is to allow the program participants to meet one another and to share experiences as well as confidences. An important aspect to this experience is the opportunity for the interns to come together with the Affirmative Action Director and program staff who can be supportive to affirmative action group member needs. For this reason, only interns and AA staff are invited to participate at this event.


Kirsten L. Nichols
Affirmative Action Specialist

City of Madison Dept. of Civil Rights
City-County Building, Room 523
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 267-8634