A problem that is often raised during Minnesota public policy discussions is that state government is not truly representative of Minnesota’s population, especially as the makeup of the state is rapidly changing. The Great Plains Institute (GPI) is serving as a host organization for a new public policy internship program that aims to begin to address this challenge. The Capitol Pathways internship program is organized by the Citizens League and places college students of color in nonprofits, government agencies, and lobbying firms during the Minnesota legislative session.

GPI is hosting two interns this spring.

Diana Vega Vega is working as a Government Affairs Intern and is spending time at the Minnesota Capitol attending committee hearings and writing summaries, participating in legislative member meetings, and tracking bills as they move through the legislative process.

Ruby Oluoch is a GreenStep Cities Intern and is working at the local government level. Ruby is working closely with the GPI Communities team by conducting data and visual analysis and identifying opportunities to enhance city participation in the GreenStep Cities program.

We are thrilled to be serving as a host organization for this important program and it has been an absolute pleasure to have Diana and Ruby join our team to help us monitor state energy policy, advance important policy for electric vehicles and bioeconomy projects, and assist local governments with sustainability efforts.

There are a total of 25 host sites participating in the inaugural program, but over 150 student applications were received. The Citizens League website has additional information about the program and if your organization is interested in participating next year, I encourage you to contact Citizens League staff and express your interest.

You can learn more about the Capitol Pathways cohort by reading profiles on all the students participating. It is a very impressive group of students and it has been wonderful to see many of their faces around the Capitol.

There has been great media coverage of the program and the student participants. One of the GPI interns, Diana Vega Vega, was profiled in a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune column and you can click below to watch a video profile from Almanac at the Capitol.

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