Applications are now open for more than 250 summer internships across Wisconsin state agencies, and the Department of Administration’s Bureau of Equity and Inclusion wants a diverse pool of applicants to apply.
The State of Wisconsin Student Diversity Internship Program (SWSDIP) provides a single application for students from diverse backgrounds to express interest in those internships. The internships are open to all students, however.
“It’s building that awareness that these opportunities exist,” said Alex Ysquierdo, director of the DOA’s Supplier Diversity Program, who supervised one of the interns last year. “It’s not saying, ‘because you’re a minority, or you’re diverse, here’s a job.’ No, you still have to apply, and you have to put your best foot forward.”
The time commitment for the internships range from eight to 20 hours a week and most pay $18 – $22 per hour. Internships are available in 40 counties. Short-term housing is available for many, and many are remote or hybrid as well. Most require little experience.
“It’s intended to meet people where they’re at,” Ysqueirdo said.
The SWSDIP catalog lists internships in a wide variety of fields, including business, finance, communications, health, human services, law and more.
The program is recruiting a diverse pool of candidates as the state legislature and conservative activists have set their sites on “diversity” programs statewide. The Universities of Wisconsin recently struck a deal with the Republican leadership of the Assembly to reduce DEI staff in exchange for funding. The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a federal law suit to end the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Diversity Clerkship Program.
Ysquierdo said state agencies will likely not be deterred by those efforts.
“From my experience in working in the diverse communities and the economic development space, programs like this, right now, are very much needed,” he said. “I could see programs like this evolving down the road, but right now … in my opinion, through my lens, it’s very much needed right now … it’s just about awareness, letting the communities know, hey, here’s an awesome opportunity. You don’t need that much experience, as long as you’re in school. Take advantage of it, and see where it takes you.”
Applications are due February 26. Interviews will take place in March and internships offered in April. Free online information sessions will be held January 24 and February 7; you can register for one of those at this link. You can also begin your application process at this link.