Shelby County recruits interns to assist during summer

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

Shelby County has recently found success by recruiting young people to help within various departments in the county as part of its summer associates internship program with the goal of cultivating and keeping talent right here in the county.

During a Shelby County Commission meeting on Monday, July 8, the current group of summer associates were introduced to the commission and details were shared on how they have assisted in efforts in departments around the county.

“It’s beneficial for us to see how they think and then also we can show them a little bit about what we do,” County Manager Chad Scroggins said. “It’s been a great program. We hope to hire every one of them one day, but if we get just one, it’s a successful recruitment. It’s money well spent for sure.”

The internship program first started last year and was partly born out of desire to find a way to bring young talent back to Shelby County.

“It was about two years ago that I was sitting in a BBA (Birmingham Business Alliance) board meeting and there was a little a bit of a challenge that, if we really wanted talent to come back to Shelby County and other places in the Birmingham metro area, we can talk about all the different things that may or may not recruit people, but one of the best things you can do is try to get folks to come and actually work for you and see what it’s actually (like) to work here,” Scroggins said.

The following individuals are currently participating in the summer associates program:

– Ashley Legenzoff from DePaul University

– Davis Parker from Auburn University

– Ellen Jackins from Appalachian State University

– Millie Dorman from Rhodes College

– Kameron Bates from Delta State University

Legenzoff  worked alongside Manager of Tourism and Events Kendall Williams on programs for Leadership Shelby County as well as Discover Shelby. Additionally, Legenzoff assisted in the development of a commercial for the county as well as a newsletter for Discover Shelby.

“It’s definitely been a beneficial experience,” Legenzoff said. “Kendall Williams and Maggie Behrle are both amazing women, and I just enjoy going to the office every day.”

Parker, Jackins and Dorman worked alongside Development Services and were able to assist with planning and development as well as the Harpersville Vincent zoning beat.

The Development Services interns have had the opportunity to be involved in the public meeting process, see citizen engagement as well as the behind-the-scenes aspect with data analytics and GIS.

“We’ve done a lot of field work where we go out and look directly at the land that we’re studying and we’ve created maps from that and we’ve done a lot of GIS work,” Dorman said. “They created a new field map for us to use, so we used some GIS technology that Shelby County hasn’t used before. So, we’ve had a lot of fun and we’ve learned a lot from that experience.”

In addition to aiding Development Services, Parker also worked alongside 58 Inc. as part of his internship.

“My experience has actually been not what I expected,” Parker said. “This internship is so versatile. I’ve done everything from zoning mapping to looking at land ordinances to field work to dealing with complaints. I’ve quite thoroughly enjoyed it because it just shows me all the aspects that Shelby County manages.”

Jackins shared that she found the internship opportunity to be an interesting one after coming down from a city environment in North Carolina to a more rural environment here in Shelby County.

“We’ve spent probably a week just out in the car driving around, documenting land use and that’s been really neat,” Jackins said. “We’ve really been out in the field in the county and it’s been really cool. We do something different every single day.”

Manager of Planning and Community Development Josh Osborne shared the department’s goal for the future after the completion of this round of internships.

“What we’re hoping for as we send each of these summer associates back off this fall, is that they’ll have the opportunity to engage with us in Shelby County planning and development and be able to take these hip pocket stories one day—whether they come back and work for us or go to a future employer—they are going to have a hip pocket story to share as part of the interview process,” Osborne said.

Bates recently finished his studies in geospatial analysis and intelligence at Delta State University and has been working to assist in keeping up with 911 tickets, data streams as well as helping look for ways to automate workflows.

Weber has been working alongside the County’s Highway Department and has had the opportunity to learn about the county’s processes through the County Road 47 widening project.

“Our staff has done a great job of getting him around to each group in our highway department so he gets to experience what each group does,” County Engineer David Willingham said. “He’s done a great job.”

During the commission meeting, Commissioner Kevin Morris spoke to the summer associates in attendance and spoke on the importance of the work they’ve participated in.

“We think you chose well by choosing Shelby County and we hope as you leave and go back to your respective colleges along the way, you’ll always remember your time here,” Morris said.