Illinois Tollway Internships Provide Opportunities for Students to Gain Real-World Work Experiences
The Illinois Tollway is building a pipeline of new engineers and transportation industry professionals through its internship program.
“We are creating opportunities for our interns to gain real-world, on-the-job experience by applying their skills to ongoing programs, projects and initiatives,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse. “Illinois Tollway interns work side-by-side with some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the transportation industry, who serve as mentors and provide guidance so students can advance their careers.”
Interns also engage in a variety of interactive activities designed to build long-lasting relationships with their peers and mentors.
The Illinois Tollway 2023 internship program includes 18 interns representing 13 different colleges and universities throughout the region and beyond. Most of the interns come from in-state schools, but a few come from schools as far away as Nebraska, Missouri and North Carolina.
All but two of the interns are participating in the Tollway’s 10-week summer Professional Services Internship Program, which provides interns with hands-on experience working daily in one of seven different departments, including Administration, Facilities and Fleet, Finance, Information Technology, Planning, Toll Operations and Traffic and Incident Management.
One intern is participating in the year-long Engineering Cooperative Educational Program, which provides in-depth instruction on the three phases of a project – planning, design and construction. And one other intern is in the one-year Business Systems internship, which gives interns the opportunity to dive into transportation and public policy data projects.
Both paid internship programs kicked off on June 1. The summer internship ends on August 11, while the Engineering Co-Op and Business Systems internships run through May 2024.
“This year, we’re spending more time focusing on supporting the development of the intern and Tollway employee relationship through team-building activities and job shadowing,” said Illinois Tollway Pipeline Partnership Liaison Jyoti Rao. “We hope this leads to sustained relationships even beyond the internship.”
Team-building activities this year include a Lego challenge that requires teams to build a structure in an allotted time frame that other teams can readily identify and a scavenger hunt that challenges teams to identify items seen around the Central Administration building in Downers Grove.
The Tollway is also supporting interns with a networking event called “Do’s and Donuts” to discuss how to make the most of their internships and a health and wellness seminar to discuss the importance of workplace health matters. There also are two site visits planned to the Aurora (M-8) maintenance facility and the I-490/I-90 Interchange Project.