Coordinator training county government’s next generation

EVERETT — Shawna Ousse’s job is building the future.

Since the beginning of the year, Ousse has worked as Snohomish County’s coordinator for interns and volunteers.

She ushers students into the workforce and helps the county recruit the next generation of employees. Once the intern program gets under way, she also plans to start matching potential volunteers with opportunities at the county.

“There are so many people who want to be involved and we want to make it easy for them,” Ousse said.

The coordinator position is new for the county.

County Executive John Lovick created it as part of the 2014 budget. The goal was to boost civic participation. The top three priorities are: organizing internships, organizing volunteers and mentoring interns once they’re on board.

“We just have an untapped resource really and we want to put some structure around it,” said the county’s human resources director, Bridget Clawson, who supervises the program.

Some internships are paid, others not.

Some might be put to work helping design roads or devising policies to help the county save energy. Parks, finance, communications, human resources, law enforcement — they’re all possibilities.

“I think it’s a recruiting gold mine,” Clawson said. “A lot of young people don’t think about county government as a career.”

Some county departments, such as public works, already have well-established internship programs. Ousse’s goal is to formalize the process countywide. Beyond technical skills, she wants to instill good work habits.

At the end of the internship, students will do a presentation about what they’ve learned.

“I love the idea of helping students start their careers,” Ousse said. “I was once an intern myself, 12 years ago.”

She graduated in 2002 from Eastern Washington University. During her last quarter there, she interned with the Spokane County Democrats.

Soon, she was working full time organizing special events for the state Democratic Party. In that role, she also worked with interns, who have gone to work in Congress, in Olympia and elsewhere. Now removed from the political realm, she plans to build on that experience.

“I’m helping people start their careers for the past 10 years,” she said, “and that’s what I’m really proud of.”

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

To learn more

Look at Snohomish County’s job opportunities page, where the county soon plans to start posting internships: tinyurl.com/SnoCoJobs

To to get notices about job and internship openings at the county, fill out a job interest card: tinyurl.com/SnoCoNotices

For volunteer opportunities: tinyurl.com/SnoCoVolunteer

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
A local connection to history

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson remembers The Post’s Katharine Graham, who visited several times.

Most Read