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,

To learn more

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

To to get notices about job and internship openings at the county, fill out a job interest card:

For volunteer opportunities:

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Injured hiker rescued near Granite Falls

Woman fell and hit her head on a rock Saturday, and her condition worsened overnight.

Two teens struck by truck in Lynnwood

The teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Most Read