An internship in the world of planning and development

Nov 4, 2023

Hands-on experience can be hard to come by in college, especially for those looking for training in specific subject areas such as municipal planning and development.

However, the Redevelopment Authority is now offering a paid internship program for college students looking to get practical experience in local government.

For Jared Fredrickson, the Authority’s first intern, the hands-on opportunities available through the program have been valuable to his college education.

Fredrickson is a senior at UMass Boston, studying political science and public policy. He is also a Wareham native.

He said, “Just being able to be involved with local government, especially in the community I care about — it's really great.”

Fredrickson works eight hours a week and is working with his school to receive course credit for the internship. 

Dan Butler, chair of the Redevelopment Authority, said he hopes Fredrickson will be able to intern until the end of the school year — or even longer.

“Jared’s someone to keep an eye on,” Butler said. “I foresee him taking on more significant responsibilities and having [a] very positive impact wherever he goes after he graduates from college.”

While some days Fredrickson is scanning documents or sorting through files, other days he is out and about in town.

Fredrickson said he recently was a part of a meeting with Kenneth Buckland, director of Planning and Community Development, and local businessman Danny Warren, who has been working on a 16-slip marina and event space at 59 Main Street.

He said he also went to see the Parker Mill Pond Dam in order to fill out some forms that will help in weighing the town’s options for what to do with the bridge that has been declared “hazardous” by the Office of Dam Safety at the Department of Conservation and Recreation in 2014 and ways to get state funding for the project.

Fredrickson said he values the ability to learn more and understand better the various processes involved in municipal planning, including permitting and the general functions of various committees.

He said he also benefits from being a part of some potential big projects for the town, such as assisting in the completion of the Coastal Resources Feasibility Study for the fishing pier, kayak launch and coastal path the town is working to make happen.

“I think just being able to have hands-on experience is probably the most important,” he added.

Prior to his internship, Fredrickson did some volunteer work on the Decas School/Committee Center Committee, according to Butler.

“He demonstrated his sincere interest in bettering Wareham and his meticulous penchant for gathering and analyzing vital data for making informed, thoughtful decisions on policy impacting all of Wareham’s citizens,” Butler said. “I was especially impressed with his methodical analysis and obvious motivation to arrive at a careful examination of policy options. More than anything else, his integrity and attention to detail caught my eye.”

Fredrickson said he is not yet sure what he’d like to do come graduation time, but he does want to be in local government.

He said he wants to “try to actually have a positive impact on the community.”

He added, "That's what I'm trying to do here in this role, and that's what I'm hoping to do afterwards.” 

To those interested in taking on the internship next, Fredrickson said, “Everything you're doing is really important.”

He added, “Whether you're scanning documents or you're actually handing out flyers to local businesses, every part of that is really important because every part of it plays a role in the process of development and of planning.”

Butler said, “Jared’s our pioneer. I’m hopeful we can recruit and award stipends to other talented college and graduate school interns in the future. It’s a great investment in Wareham’s future.”