Max Gort recently completed an internship with the City of Golden Valley. This is what he had to say about the experience.
Going back to the beginning of this year, I was incredibly uncertain about where I would be after my graduation with a degree in Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota. Generally, I knew that I wanted to get my foot in the door into the field of community development planning, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Luckily, I got the call from the City of Golden Valley offering me the opportunity to intern with their planning team for the summer, giving me a chance to experience the work and mindset that planners use to shape the future of their cities.
Upon my first few days in Golden Valley, I learned why interning with a planning department is so crucial to an aspiring planner. Already, I was learning more about the hands-on work of planning than I had during my years as an Urban Studies student. During college, I had gained a great deal of understanding of the conceptual elements that make up urbanism and planning, but very little of the technical practice itself. I was given several assignments to aid the planners with various planning applications, gaining experience presenting before the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. Additionally, I sat in on several meetings with developers and applicants as they worked with city staff with a mutual goal of building something that will ultimately benefit the city. Golden Valley presents a very interesting urban context, with an inner-ring suburb that is slowly transforming into an extension of the urban core. The planning staff had to balance the futuristic goals of the comprehensive plan while maintaining the city’s suburban character, and I got a front row seat to all of the action
This front row seat gave me plenty of experience that I would need to display as an actual planner, and that opportunity came two months into the internship, when I was offered a job as an Associate Planner with the City of Hugo. I have taken my internship experience with me as a full-time planner now, bringing new insights and abilities to the vastly different exurban issues faced in a city like Hugo. I have been enjoying the job for quite some time and look forward to my future in the field of community development, which would not have been possible without the City of Golden Valley and a grant from the Minnesota Economic Development Foundation for making my experience possible. I have an immense amount of gratitude for everyone involved in investing in the future of myself and so many young aspiring officials.