DART embraces Office of Diversity and Equity internship program

Tuesday, 6/14/11 - 9:45 am

The Multnomah County Office of Diversity and Equity has been investigating opportunities to expand the pool of interested and qualified candidates for county jobs by exposing the area’s diverse students and young adults to county careers through internships.

At the direction of Chief Diversity and Equity Officer Daryl Dixon, staffer Allyson Spencer interviewed county department managers about current and potential internship opportunities within their services, systems and projects.

This May, Spencer met with Randy Walruff, county tax assessor and director of the Divsion of Assessment, Recording and Taxation (DART) and Leslie Cech, residential valuation manager, to discuss possible internship opportunities within DART.  Their response was positive and immediate. Walruff shared the need to expose young people to careers within the division and committed to providing three and eventually four positions within the Residential Appraisal Section this summer.

Candidates for the internships were solicited through the Act Six program, an urban leadership and scholarship initiative of the Portland Leadership Foundation in partnership with George Fox University and Warner Pacific College. The program facilitates an innovative scholarship initiative that equips emerging urban leaders to engage the college campus and their communities at home.

After a screening and interview process, four Act Six students were selected to start work in June.  The students will shadow staff appraisers as they carry out the job of collecting data obtained from both the office and in the field used in the valuation of residential property.  Tasks may include verification of sale transaction details, property inventory and inspections, evaluation of building construction, condition function and design, measuring and photographing buildings and researching zoning regulations and land use restrictions.

Along with DART, the Office of Diversity and Equity and Act Six are pleased with the outcome of this very intentional and collaborative effort and the quality of the candidates selected.  But, no one can be happier than the interns who are very excited about the career exposure, skills and work experience they will gain.

The DART internship program is an excellent example of committed action with win/win results for the county’s diversity efforts. ODE will be working on establishing similar internships throughout the county.