Office of Financial Empowerment
LOCATION: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Our office is able to host a REMOTE OR IN-PERSON intern (depending on mutual preference).
TIME ZONE: Central
WORKING HOURS: There is flexibility regarding which hours the intern works.
INDUSTRY: Federal / State / Local Government
ABOUT US: The Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) advances economic democracy that shares prosperity with all Saint Paul residents. Launched in March 2019 as part of Mayor Carter's first budget, the OFE has quickly developed a national reputation for advancing progressive economic justice strategies, including: college savings accounts for every baby born in the city, guaranteed income, fines and fees justice, tenant protection policies, tenant access fund for residents returning from incarceration, and a loan fund for immigrants and refugees.
RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: It is project-based internship. A project will be set up for interns based on needs across the department. Interns will not work on a bunch of random tasks or assignments, but instead a project individualized to the intern. Projects are based a OFE program area and desired skill development. It is the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), so our projects our bound to the work of the department, but the subject areas that the OFE covers are expansive. See below for topics and skill development areas.
OFE Program/Subject Areas
- College Savings Accounts. https://collegeboundstp.com/.
- Fair Housing. Tenant Protections Policy Implementation. https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/mayors-office/safe-housing
- Returning Home Saint Paul. https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/financial-services/returning-home-sai...
- People's Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot. https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/mayors-office/peoples-prosperity-guar...
- New American Loan Fund. Currently in program development for establishing a loan fund to support immigrants and refugees secure financing to pay for fees for citizenship, green cards, etc.
- Consumer financial protection. https://www.stpaul.gov/news/mayor-carter-launches-consumer-financial-pro...
- Cooperative economics. Currently in strategy development to amplify the role of worker cooperatives citywide..
- Program development and strategy
- Community engagement and outreach
- Research and policy analysis
- Program evaluation
- Policy and research brief writing
- Financial modeling
- Communications and marketing plan development
- Communication design - print, website, and social media
- Strategic planning
- Project management
- Other skill development of interest to intern
An applicant should identify their program area(s) and skill development interest(s) in their statement of interest. They will be explored further in the interview with the City team.
WORK ENVIRONMENT: Flexible, fast-paced, independent with strong supervisor supports, focused on results
EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: Access to high-speed Wi-Fi, Personal laptop, Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
2021 Intern Reflections:
At Mayor Carter's Office, I work in the Office of Financial Empowerment in order to further economic justice in the City of St. Paul. I've been able to explore local government and public service in ways I've never had the opportunity to in the past. This internship has allowed me to develop my data analysis skillset while building a comprehensive fair housing map for the city's housing justice efforts, using many of the tools I learned in my data science courses at Harvard. Working with community partners to develop St. Paul's worker ownership program and launch our community council, I feel that I've greatly expanded my outreach skills. The OFE Team is kind and supportive and help me to better understand the workings of local government at every opportunity. I always feel included when I'm in a meeting and my opinions are valued and taken into consideration. I typically spend most of my day delving through data (typically from the Census Bureau or HUD), meeting with other OFE members to give progress reports, and reading and taking careful notes on reports pertaining to housing, the affordability crisis, and worker cooperatives. The OFE has given me a fresh and valuable new perspective on making government work for the people, and I could not be more grateful.
- Brandon Kingdollar
2019 Intern Reflections:
This summer, I am working on Fair Housing policy in the City of Saint Paul as part of the Office of Financial Empowerment. It is the newest city department so I get to see it grow and develop. Things move fast in Mayor Carter's administration. All the work I am putting in this summer will help shape the Fair Housing policy agenda to be passed this fall in the city. The first half of my summer, I mostly did policy research, something I have always wanted to try. For the second half of the summer, we worked on a series of engagement events to get the perspectives of residents on what the solutions are to the important issue of housing access. I took the lead on planning the logistics for these events. It is a privilege to work in an administration where such a focus is placed on the voices of everyday people. Not to mention, Mayor Carter fosters an inclusive work environment. He encourages everyone, including me, to speak up in meetings. I feel like my voice is truly valued, and I am really making a difference.
Amal Abdi '21
The motto of the mayor’s administration is “A Saint Paul that works for all of us”, and in our office, itself the related buzzwords are “radical hospitality”. What all that means is – whenever you are not working on a specific project, you work in constituent services – working the front desk for when people come in, answering the phones, responding to emails and voicemails, etc. to ensure that, at all times, we are doing as much as we can to answer the concerns of every person who contacts us. There is a very real, driving, culture of engagement in the office – the goal of Mayor Carter and his administration is to bring as many people into the governing process as possible, both in the short term and in the long term.
As for specific projects, among others, I have staffed the mayor at a few events, and worked on processing responses to the city’s Climate Action Plan, and have more coming down the pipeline. Staffing the mayor consists of two things – prepping the advance materials (schedule, prepared remarks, and the who’s who) as well as going with the mayor to the event itself to take photos, helping things run on schedule, and so on. In terms of schedule, I work 8-hour days, from 8:30 to 4:30, every weekday.
Overall, it’s been a very positive experience so far! I love working with my coworkers, and Saint Paul is my hometown. I find it extremely rewarding, both to be doing something that I think I would like to do for a living, and to be helping people in the place where I grew up. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to do so!
David Moberg '22