2023 was the 10 year anniversary of the Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program and I’m excited to share that we saw a record numbers of youth applying to return to the program. The Program works with young people from around Madison and introduces them to City government. The program’s namesake, Wanda Fullmore, grew up in Madison, graduating from Vel Phillips Memorial High School, and spent her career as an employee in the Mayor’s Office. Her passion for supporting the community and building lasting relationships has inspired this program’s continued work to incorporate Madison youths’ voices in the long-term planning and visioning of the City.

Twenty-two young people participated this year. They focused on community building, community development, and expanding their understanding of the depth and reach of the work of City of Madison departments. They also worked with teams tackling two City of Madison development projects (South Transfer Point Visioning Project and the East Madison Neighborhood / Hooper Site Visioning Project) while refining their professional development skills and networking with local, regional, and national professionals. All accepted youth work in-person placements, some based in City of Madison departments or divisions, and others directly with Common Wealth Development

Youth worked an average of 16 hours per week, dividing their time amongst professional development training, in-person work at their placement, and community development and engagement projects. Youth also come together to build their peer-to-peer connections and step into leadership roles. For the second time, the program included an alumni panel featuring program alumni from 2016-2022, who came to share their experiences and build community with the current group. This was just one of the unique professional development activities offered this year.

Youth who are accepted into the program receive a Chromebook to use during the program and keep upon program end, as well as a bus pass to assist with getting to and from internship activities. Interns are also automatically enrolled to earn elective school credits through MMSD’s Experiential Learning program for their work throughout the summer.

Thank you to the City staff who support the program by hosting student interns, and thank you to the Common Wealth staff for their commitment and long hours over the summer to build a meaningful experience for the youth and our city. And of course thank you to the youth, the parents, and all other partners that make this program a success.

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