GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy and Stockton University’s political science program are partnering with Atlantic County to create internships for Stockton students within county government.

Internships will be available to undergraduate students in various county departments, including administration, public safety, law, human services and family and community development. Additional departments may also request interns.

All Stockton University undergraduate students may apply for the unpaid internships, which will provide students with three academic credit hours for a semester. Atlantic County government officials have agreed to accept at least three interns in their Atlantic City offices for the fall 2019 semester. County officials have also requested two graduate student interns, who would be placed through a separate Stockton program.

The partnership with county government extends Stockton University’s presence in Atlantic City, where it opened a new Academic Center and Residential Complex in September 2018.

Michael Rodriguez, coordinator of Stockton’s political science program, said students will gain real world experience as they learn how government operates. County officials created detailed descriptions of the duties that interns will perform.

“We want to be sure the students have a productive learning experience,” Rodriguez said.

“This is a great opportunity that benefits both the students and county government,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said. “We gain insight from the perspective of these young adults while they gain knowledge of the many programs and services we provide.”

The internships developed from a May meeting with Atlantic County department heads led by Deputy County Administrator Diana Rutala. The meeting was arranged by John Froonjian, interim executive director of the Hughes Center, who had offered to help the political science program establish the government internship program. The county officials were receptive, and discussions continued to ensure the internships would provide value to county government as well as to the students.

The Board of Chosen Freeholders approved the affiliation agreement with Stockton at its meeting Aug. 27.

“Helping to place Stockton students in government internships fits perfectly with the Hughes Center’s mission of civic engagement,” Froonjian said.