Fairfield and Bridgeport Launch Internship Initiative
Fairfield University and the City of Bridgeport Announce Internship Collaboration
What was billed as a formal news conference to announce a new internship initiative with Bridgeport City government, turned out to be a unique, teachable moment for the seven Fairfield University interns who were on hand for the occasion.
Following remarks presented by Mayor Bill Finch and University President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., Mayor Finch engaged the students in a conversational civic lesson about Bridgeport and its government, also telling them that they were in for a wonderful experience and a great time.
The internship initiative is the result of months of discussion in which Fairfield University and City officials worked collaboratively to build on the economic development priorities of the City and at the same time, enhance the educational opportunities for Fairfield students.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to receive hands-on experience with the workings of a major city across a spectrum of departments and areas of focus," said University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. "We emphasize at Fairfield just how important it is for real-world experience to be integrated with the classroom, so this partnership is ideal in that respect. We also feel that this is an opportunity for our University to contribute to the city of Bridgeport, to put ourselves to work in the service of the city's growth and development, and to actively and concretely express how fortunate we feel that we are to be a part of the fabric of the city and the Greater Bridgeport area."
“This internship initiative is another fine example of our proud partnership with Fairfield University and we are thrilled to have so many students participating this semester,” said Mayor Finch. “This program will allow students an opportunity to gain real-world experience prior to graduation, which is very important, especially in the current economic environment.”
Intern Monica Mosho ’13, said, “I’m really excited to start my internship with the Human Resource Department for the City. I am looking forward to gaining first-hand experience, learning about the selection and hiring processes, benefits policies and the City’s procedures to ensure employee satisfaction. I’m also excited to learn more about the diverse City of Bridgeport since it is a neighboring town and yet I am so unfamiliar with all of the services and programs it has to offer.
The students will be working in a variety of City departments and offices including the Office of the Mayor (Communications), Animal Shelter, City Attorney, Human Resources (Labor Relations, Civil Service), and Sustainability.
This effort on the part of Fairfield University is part of a long term and larger commitment to the neighboring city and there are already in place myriad ties to Bridgeport.
“Nearly 100 of our faculty and staff live and raise their families in Bridgeport and there are more than 1.100 Fairfield alumni who live and or work here. In addition, the Webster Bank Arena is home court for the Fairfield Stags basketball program. So in every important respect the health and vibrancy of the City of Bridgeport and that of Fairfield University go hand in hand, “ said Father von Arx.
Many Fairfield students already are at work in Bridgeport, teaching in the city schools, working in the city’s healthcare network, volunteering in a variety of social service and other non-profit agencies. “Certainly we hope that our students — all of whom are energetic, hard-working, dedicated, and determined to be of service—will prove to be of value to the city during their time here, and will repay the city for the faith that the city is placing in them.
Father von Arx said the University is launching a new Master’s in Public Administration program this fall, a program that will offer even more opportunities to engage with the City and for students to become involved. “The Fairfield University community looks forward to expanding the internship program in the future, and to all of the other opportunities to work in partnership with Bridgeport,” Father von Arx said.