Internships in the outdoors with the IIC

IIC intern and SUU student Tara Dole working at Cedar Breaks National Monument.

The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative invites students to apply to work for state and federal governments as interns in the great outdoors. The National Parks Service, Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have come together to offer students the chance to gain experience working in the public lands sector while earning college credit and developing valuable skills.

Since 2007, the IIC has partnered with SUU, Cedar City community partners and state agencies to offer summer jobs to high school or college students and graduates. The program was born out of SUU’s outdoor recreation and parks tourism major to address students’ needs for both internship credit and real-world experience.

The program is not limited to ORPT students. Any student or recent graduate can apply on the IIC website, where they can browse positions and learn more about the program. Each position has different requirements, but all applicants should be prepared to submit a resume and cover letter.

A wide variety of jobs are offered in Utah, Nevada and Arizona parks and public lands. From restaurant and kitchen staff to archaeologists and botanists — whatever niche one may have — there are many interesting internships to choose from and apply for.

SUU student Tara Dole has spent two summers working at Cedar Breaks National Monument through the IIC. “I had never been to the monument before my first day at my internship, but it’s such a beautiful place with amazing geology and biodiversity,” said Dole. 

IIC intern and SUU student Tara Dole working at Cedar Breaks National Monument.

As a facilities maintenance intern, Dole was responsible for fixing problems around the park having to do with custodial work and ground clearing, among other things. “Working in maintenance specifically gave me so much opportunity to develop my problem-solving skills and learn to work with a team and figure things out on the fly while also taking directions for planned-out projects,” she shared.

While working through the IIC, Dole gained valuable insights into the inner workings of land management and how to apply for positions with the federal government. The program helps students make connections to help them gain jobs after their internships have ended. “I think the most valuable thing it gave me was more faith in my ability to learn and use new skills, as well as a desire to learn even more skills,” said Dole. 

“I also just love being able to spend my summers solving problems outdoors instead of being locked inside for eight to 10 hours when the weather is so nice, especially up at the breaks,” said Dole. Explore and apply for positions soon to be a part of the summer 2023 IIC program and spend your summer outside as a steward of the nation’s public lands.


Story by: Lily Brunson
Photos courtesy of Tara Dole