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Oakland Public Works Department
High School Internship Program


During the six-week internship I became very aware of how much planning and work goes into something so simple like paving streets and fixing sidewalks. It was very eye opening to see projects printed on a sheet of  11 x 7 paper appear in real life. The program definitely achieved its goals. I learned that engineering isn’t as I thought it was prior to the internship. Before the internship I thought civil engineering was bridges and skyscrapers but it’s mostly planning and supervising. I also learned that the public services do more than just clean the streets and paint over graffiti. They test the concrete and asphalt that we walk and drive on. They make and fix signs for the streets and parks. They also fix police cars. A lot of the employees that my group and I encountered told us in order to be successful we just have to study hard and get our priorities straight. Finally I learned that working in an office you have to be very organized because paperwork can pile up quick and become a problem.

When the internship was over I noticed myself starting to like engineering more than I ever did before. Entering college there is a big chance that I may choose civil engineering as my major. If I do choose to do civil engineering I want to become a surveyor.  I became interested in surveying when I went to the 12th Street bridge and took some points with the gps machine. Keenan and Ray also informed us that not many people are in the surveying field which makes it easier to get a job.

-Participant, McClymonds High School

About the program

The City of Oakland’s engineering intern program is designed to provide students the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience in a working engineering environment, as well as learn how to work cooperatively with others on a team and in a professional work setting.  Further, the program prepares the intern for possible future employment with the city or the general work force, and benefits the engineering profession by providing a training opportunity.

The city benefits from the program by receiving the services of the intern at an affordable rate of pay. Interns often bring new ideas and technologies from the academic world, assist the engineering staff in meaningful ways, and the program creates a pool for future engineers, planners and other professionals.


  • Job shadow/internship across the department
  • Youth participate in real world work experiences with data collection, surveying, testing, planning, design, management, etc.
  • Youth come from diverse schools
  • Employee led program provides mentorship opportunities

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