PICS Organization Name
Western Connecticut Council of Governments
Sandy Hook, Connecticut
Public Transportation Available
Christian Schmidt '20, Soumya Sudhakar '18
The Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG) is the second largest regional Council of Government (COG) in Connecticut. COGs perform many of the roles that counties do in other states. (CT does not have county government). WestCOG serves the cities of Stamford, Norwalk, and Danbury, as well as 15 surrounding towns.
WestCOG has regional programs in transportation planning, environmental management, economic development, emergency preparedness, public health, shared services, and IT/GIS.
WestCOG and its predecessors have been in existence for over 50 years; the agency currently has a staff of approximately 15. Agency staff work in a variety of roles, including as program managers, analysts, and liaisons.
The project will be determined in conjunction with the intern, depending on the intern's interests/skills and agency needs.
Past interns have:
- Prepared a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.
- Developed hardware/software for a regional transportation program.
- Undertaken a nationwide study of governments and identified a pathway for innovative governance concepts.
Future projects may include:
- Analysis of state mandates and requirements on local governments, with an eye to identifying candidates for regional approaches and applicable statutory reforms
- Development of a regional program of federal assistance (grants)
- Development of a recreation strategy and plan (to make the region a destination for, e.g., mountain biking)
- Study of agricultural viability in an environment with high land costs but proximity to major markets
- Regional analysis of the potential for solar energy (PV) installations
Work at WestCOG will involve primary and secondary research, analysis, preparation and presentation of studies and reports, coordination with a set of stakeholders, all in a creative and dynamically growing environment with a friendly team and an excellent work-life balance.
With its activities in a broad array of functional areas, and engagement with diverse stakeholders, both elected and appointed, at the local, regional, state, and federal levels, and is a great place to begin working in government, public policy, and planning.
- Excellent written and spoken English
- Strong research and analysis skills
- Critical thinking
- Ability to set and meet deadlines
- Familiarity with scholarly research
- Statistical analysis
- Spatial analysis
- GIS (ArcGIS, Python)
- Statistics software (SPSS, R)
Expected Start Time
Expected End Time
Meets Certificate Requirement
A variety of housing is available within a reasonable driving commute of the office. Past interns have had success with Airbnbs near the office and short-term apartment rentals in New Haven.
There is no public transit to the office; however, carpooling may be an option if housing is coordinated with staff.
The regular work schedule is 35 hours per week, which may be compressed into a 4-day workweek. On occasion, Meetings may occur outside this time. Depending on the project, and interest of the agency and intern, there may be travel to meetings and field sites.
WestCOG is a beautiful and vibrant place to work. My boss created something that's honestly beyond positive, and frequently fosters great interactions between employees.
—Christian Schmidt '20