Ada County Highway District

ACHD News Blog Thursday, July 28, 2022

Driving the Future: Interns Find Success at ACHD

When you think "intern" what comes to mind? Filing? Making copies? Fetching coffee? Maybe at some organizations, but not at the Ada County Highway District.

ACHD's internship program has provided more than 200 college students with real world, hands-on, experience in their field of study. Be it infrastructure planning, communications, engineering, or human resources, ACHD can, and does, provide a wealth of knowledge to these aspiring professionals.

While the program has been beneficial to the students, it has also served as a successful professional pipeline for ACHD. Since its inception, ACHD has converted several interns into full-time employees in various roles throughout the District.

Avery Foerster is one of ACHD's interns turned employee. Foerster recently graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor's in public relations and a certificate in nonprofit management. During her time at BSU, she secured an internship at ACHD in its Communications department. In her time as an intern she was involved in the District's public involvement process from start to finish.

In her eight months as an intern, Foerster coordinated logistics of public involvement meetings, learned best practices for social media marketing, gained knowledge of construction processes, and generated content in the form of mailers and other printed materials.

"I am so grateful for my time interning at the District," Foerster said. "I gained hands-on experience that I wouldn't have obtained in a classroom and gained feedback from experts in my field."

Many of the interns initially take the positions to check off requirements for graduation, not realizing they may find a passion for serving their community through local government.

One such employee is Megan Merkley, a former intern turned employee.

"During my Planning internship, I learned the ins and outs of the data created and collected by the various departments and partners of ACHD, and the many different projects done for the community related to transportation," Merkley said. As an intern, Merkley was also able to assist the Planning department with the Ada Annual Report and presented it to the ACHD Commission last summer.

"I am now a GIS Analyst with ACHD and create online web maps, analyze data for special projects and build customized web applications and maps for the public to access with ADA compliancy in mind," said Merkley.

"We are happy to help these future professionals learn and grow," said Human Resources Deputy Director Shari Knauss. "It is fun to watch them find their way in a professional setting, find their passion through the variety of work offered, and find their future be it within or outside of the transportation industry."

ACHD has internship opportunities throughout the year. To see available opportunities, check the Employment Opportunities page.

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