NASPO’s Internship Program began in summer 2017 with three pilot states and four interns. From there, it grew to eight states for summer 2018. Among the eight states participating this summer, 14 interns from NASPO academic partner schools have been hired. Our internship program works with state procurement offices across the country to build meaningful experiences for college students over their summer term.
The students from academic partner schools are impressive! They come from top-tier Supply Chain programs across the country- the closest field of study to public procurement. Since the program’s inception, we have honed the process and continue to improve for both the participating states and their students. We have highlighted the experience via webinars and conference sessions, leading to an increase in excitement and interest from our state members.
Below is the experience is Mattie Thompson, who took a NASPO-sponsored internship in the summer of 2017. We hope you enjoy hearing about her experiences working in state procurement!
Procurement Cycle Internship in Boston, MA – Summer 2017 by Mattie Thompson
After searching for a few months, an internship opportunity came up in Boston with the Operational Services Division (OSD) for supply chain undergrad students. I decided to send in my resume and heard back pretty quickly about the position and that I would be starting in June. I was nervous about the commute because it would involve the Commuter Rail and that I might be the only intern in the office.
Once I got to my cubicle and met the other interns I was excited to get started and learn about my project. As the procurement cycle intern, the sourcing department wanted me to figure out how much time and money was spent making Statewide Contracts and if there were any tricks we found along the way to reduce either one. I started with a contract that was finished the previous year called FAC96 and I met with the team members to figure out a timeline of work.
My timeline for each of the contracts I looked at was tracking the individual stages of each one from start-up meetings and editing phases to the final launch and events that followed with promotions. I met with people who worked extensively with leads from different departments to get a total amount of hours for each step and rough estimates of dates and goals. I followed these steps for 2 other contracts as well to get a final number of hours for each.
Once I got the amount of time spent on the projects solidified, I could start using public information to figure out hourly rates of the people who worked on each project and then calculated the dollars spent on labor hours for a contract. The sourcing department wanted to use the dollars spent number when informing cities and towns of the benefits of the use of Statewide Contracts. Instead of going out and getting their own contracts with vendors they would also have to find themselves, the Statewide Contract is already made and could save them lots of time and thousands of dollars.
The last part of my project was to compile the results into an easy-to-use spreadsheet that outlined the key data points and then broke out into tabs with more detail about how those numbers were found. The results are able to be updated as new contracts are made and if anyone is interested in the simple numbers or more detailed tabs they can look at it on OSD’s shared drive.
After my time at OSD, I reflected on the things I learned from working in a government office. First, even if you are the youngest one in the office, you still have things to offer and people are willing to hear your ideas. I was always a little nervous to say what I was thinking or an idea I had because I was just a junior in college and everyone else was so experienced. As the summer went on I realized that is not true and everyone has things to offer. Second, you have no idea how valuable an experience will be so take the opportunities that come to you. I never thought about working in the public sector before my internship and since then, a whole new area of work is now in my path when career searching. It is so important to take advantage of opportunities because you have no idea what will happen if you do. Lastly, ask a ton of questions. If something seems vague you have to speak up because without a question, you could end up going the complete wrong direction and have to start over. Even though being young doesn’t mean you don’t have good ideas, lean on the people with experience to help guide you in the right direction for the best possible outcome.
I learned so much from my time at OSD and I truly believe it was such a great start to a career in the supply chain field. I got to complete a project that will continue to be used by the sourcing department as well as learn from other interns and share my experiences with others in the hopes of opening their eyes into public sector work.
For more information about NASPO’s Internship Program, please contact me, or check out our NASPO Internship Toolkit. We will be posting another blog written by another NASPO-sponsored intern in the coming weeks, so look for that on Procurement Pulse!
Mattie Thompson is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain and Information Systems. She spent her time in college involved in a women’s health and fitness organization and served as secretary her senior year. Mattie was a Procurement Cycle Intern at OSD in Boston in 2017 and worked as a Supply Chain Intern at the Penn State Creamery in 2018. She is planning to pursue a career in purchasing or inventory management.