Every year, the Dallas Regional Chamber has a cohort of 8-10 interns who are college students from around the country. I had the privilege of being an intern last summer where I learned more about the city development initiatives and policy advocacy in the Dallas area than I'd ever learned about before. Each cohort is given a final presentation topic that is presented to the entire Chamber staff. Usually, the topic is related to talent attraction and what Millennials like about the greater Dallas area as well as what they would like to see changed. This project requires a lot of research about the different aspects of living in Dallas, including economic opportunity and culture. The program has been facilitated by Elizabeth Caudill, Director of Higher Education and Workforce, for the past three years.
This year's group of 10 interns did a thorough analysis on the greater Dallas area (North DFW, Central Dallas, and South Dallas) with regard to the categories mentioned earlier. In a very data-driven but clearly articulated presentation we learned about several new projects that the City of Dallas, Dallas Regional Chamber, and other organizations will undertake in the coming years. One of the projects was a continuation of the DART network for public transit in places that don't have access to easy public transportation (Coppell, Grapevine, Plano, Richardson). The group addressed the different attractions in each of the areas they researched. We learned that Plano and Frisco have been investing a lot of funds to create new mixed-use properties that would introduce new public spaces, residential buildings, and small businesses/restaurants. We learned Uptown Dallas is quickly becoming a place with lots of highrise structures that either house young professionals in condos or Fortune 500 companies in office buildings. And we learned that Oak Cliff maintains it's unique aesthetic through revitalization efforts in some of the non-residential areas such as the Bishop Arts District.
Their presentation was very impressive and everyone in the audience was able to clearly understand exactly what was being addressed regardless of what department they worked in. My biggest takeaway was a quote by one of the interns "It doesn't matter who believes in us and who doesn't, Dallas will always try to make our community better". I was so happy to be a part of this program last year because of everything that I learned. It was obvious that this year's class of interns also gained a lot of valuable knowledge. This is a stellar internship program, and I'm glad to see that it gets better ever single year!