February 6, 2024

From Intern to City Employee: A Local College Student Lands His Dream Job

The City of Virginia Beach offers internships where undergraduate and graduate students can get hands-on experience working in local government.

Josh Swartz

Josh Swartz was finishing up a master’s in public administration at Old Dominion University when a class about local government budgeting captured his attention. While he was researching career opportunities, a professor told him about a job opening in the Department of Budget & Management Services at the City of Virginia Beach. Josh applied immediately. 

Since he was still in graduate school, he was offered a paid internship—the perfect opportunity to get relevant experience and build relationships. “I’ve always held the idea that the best way to get a job straight out of college is to get an internship while still in college,” Josh said. “Nothing will open that door like having an internship, especially if you want to work for that company.” 
During his internship, Josh’s projects included researching affordable housing solutions and exploring ideas for engaging residents in the annual budget process. “There are so many nuances to local issues that you can’t really grasp until you dive into it yourself and try to figure out a solution,” he said. “I deeply enjoyed my time in the internship program and ended up wanting to stay on full-time.” 

Born and raised in a neighborhood across the street from Mt. Trashmore, Josh felt an especially strong pull to serve the City of Virginia Beach. As the internship ended, he was offered and accepted a full-time position as a budget and policy analyst. “It feels like a dream come true,” he said. “I love the idea that I can help influence the City that I grew up in.” 

As a Virginia Beach resident, Josh says having a strong connection with the community makes his new role in local government feel even more rewarding. “I’m going to see the direct benefits or consequences of whatever we as a City do or don’t do,” he said.   

Josh would encourage any college student to seek an internship as a steppingstone to a bigger opportunity. “If you really want that job, you have to show it, and you have to put in the work,” he said. “You have to get your foot in the door somehow, and I feel like this is the best way—through an internship.” 

As both a resident and a young professional, Josh is grateful he landed at the City of Virginia Beach. “I truly cannot say enough good things about the organizational culture here. Everyone I’ve talked to and met has been very kind, very polite and fun to work with,” he said. “Having that kind of environment makes working here every day feel like a dream.” 

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The City of Virginia Beach’s award-winning internship program is designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply knowledge from their field of study in a professional environment. Learn more about the program and check out current internship opportunities

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