VDH Internship Academy

Program Overview

The VDH Internship Academy is a structured 10-week program that allows current or recent students to explore what it is like to work at VDH. You’ll work directly within a program area or at a local health department on projects where you’ll be immersed as part of the team.

The program is for students bringing a broad range of backgrounds, from accounting to graphic design to biology, and, of course, public health! We’re looking for interns to work closely with public health programs, as well as other areas of criticality, such as finance/accounting, human resources, communications, and technology. There’s something for most everyone within VDH!

The academy will be placing interns in locations across the state, including our Central Offices located mostly in downtown Richmond, VA, as well as in local health departments throughout the Commonwealth.

The 2024 internship academy will include:

  • A 2 day in-person kick-off event at the Central Office in Richmond, VA on May 20-21, 2024
  • Each intern will be assigned a mentor to work with throughout the 10 weeks to enhance your skillsets and knowledge of real-world public health.
  • Teleconference bi-weekly assigned readings and activities with the entire cohort to learn about public health and other valuable skillsets
  • Introductions to, and Q&A sessions with, key VDH personnel, allowing you the opportunity to network and learn from experienced professionals
  • A 2 day in-person Closing Event/Ceremony at the Central Office in Richmond, VA on July 25-26, 2024.

This is a paid experiential learning opportunity with interns earning $18.25/hour as wage (part-time) VDH employees. Interns will work a normal 40 hour work week during the 10 week internship). Interns will not be paid for state holidays during this time (Memorial Day and Independence Day). Interns can take time off for family vacations, etc., based on agreement with their mentor. However, it is recommended to limit time off to no more than 1 week. This is to ensure the intern is getting the best experience possible from their internship and the host site is achieving its desired goals.

The 2024 VDH Internship Academy will run from May 20 to July 26, 2024. The in-person Kick-Off will occur May 20-21, 2024. The in-person Closing Event will be July 25-26, 2024. All interns are expected to attend both in-person events. Travel expenses (hotel, per diem and mileage) will be covered.

Apply to the 2024 VDH Internship Academy!

Applications will open December 22, 2023 and will close on January 31, 2024. Applicants accepted into the Academy should expect to hear back by early March 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

All applicants must meet the following criteria to be considered:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Legally eligible for employment in the United States in compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act.
  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate, master’s or terminal degree program at a college or university (in state or out of state) or, graduated with a bachelor’s, master’s or terminal degree program from a college or university (in state or out of state) within the last 12 months.
  • Have a 3.0 cumulate minimum GPA (unofficial transcripts are acceptable)
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check with the Virginia State Police
  • Applicants can not be a current VDH full-time or wage employee, or a current contractor with VDH.

Application and Selection Process

Applications must be submitted electronically between 12/22/2023 – 1/31/2024. All applicants must include the following as part of their online application:

  • Resume
  • 1-2 page Letter of Interest, with the following parameters:
    • Font size of at least 11.
    • No more than 2 pages. No exceptions.
    • Do not include your name or college/university affiliation.
  • Current college/university transcript showing GPA (unofficial transcript is ok).

The initial candidate selection process will include the following:

  • Education:
    • Education Status (completed high school or equivalent, pursuing bachelors, completed bachelors, pursuing graduate degree, completed graduate degree)
    • Field of Study/Major
    • Anticipated Graduation Year
    • Verification of a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Letter of Interest:
    The letter of interest will be the primary application material used in selecting interns. The letter should detail why the applicant believes he/she would be an ideal candidate. It’s recommended that applicants demonstrate a vested interest in public health or public service, discuss relevant activities the applicant has participated in related to the field, etc.

DO NOT include personally identifiable information or the name of your college/university. The selection process is anonymous with the applicants’ name, gender, race and college/university affiliation withheld from the initial screening committee. This information will only be shared at the time of an interview to ensure a fair and equitable selection process.

An Internship Academy Screening Committee will use an established rubric to score each letter of interest. Each screener will review 20-30 letters and each applicant’s letter will be reviewed by three separate screeners. Screening results will be weighted and ranked. NOTE: Screeners will only have access to the anonymous letters of interest; they will not have access to applicant demographic information or college/university affiliations.

Once the rankings are completed, the following information will be used to determine potential placement.

  • Geographic preferences (cities/counties)
  • Programmatic areas of interest (i.e. Nursing, Administration, Environmental Health, Human Resources, etc.)
  • Link to list of programs areas

Local health departments or central office programs will be contacted for a possible intern placement based on a ranked candidate’s “next in line” status, including the applicant’s desired geographic location(s) and area(s) of interest. At this point, only the applicant’s first and last initials, the letter of interest, geographic preference and program areas of interest are shared with the potential host site. The applicant will be contacted if the potential host site agrees to an interview.

Interviews will be virtual and last 30 minutes. The first 25 minutes are for introductions and relevant questions with the prospective intern. The final 5 minutes will only be for the host site and Academy staff to determine if the candidate is a good fit. Follow up with the candidate will occur via Academy staff. NOTE: The interview is the first time the host site will know of the candidate’s demographic profile, university affiliation, etc. The candidate’s resume will be shared with the potential host site immediately prior to the interview.

VDH will strive to ensure intern placement represents a diversity of geographic locations and areas of interest.

For questions about the VDH Internship Academy contact internships@vdh.virginia.gov.

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