The Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management recently announced that it has hired its 100th intern for the Bureau’s long-running Solid Waste Management Internship Program.

To learn more, we caught up with recycling and waste prevention manager Charlie Reighart, who runs the program, and the Bureau’s 100th intern, Natalie Adachi, to talk about this incredible milestone.

The program, begun in the early 90s, recruits talented individuals with an interest in recycling and waste prevention. Since that first intern (an UMBC student) arrived in spring 1992, the program has become an integral part of the Bureau’s day-to-day operations. Interns work directly with the staff on a range of tasks focused on recycling including public relations, graphic design, research, communications and more. Interns are also encouraged to initiate their own projects.

It’s this convergence of seasoned staff with up-and-coming talent that makes the program so successful.

“We get the cream of the crop; very talent people that have excelled at school, research and writing, and have excellent social media skills,” said Reighart. “There is a lot that they bring to the table and help us extend what we can do as the staff. It is great to have this infusion of new ideas into the system.”

In turn, said Reighart, the interns receive valuable mentoring from the staff that helps them move on to their chosen careers, whether inside or outside the field. Something that Natalie Adachi, a 2016 graduate of Gettysburg College, is already discovering.

“It’s been a really good experience so far and everyone has been incredibly welcoming. I’ve learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes of recycling in Baltimore County, something that I just never thought much about.” As part of her internship, Adachi is working on a full digital campaign for the Bureau.

Interns are paid and receive many perks including flexible hours and course credit if applicable. The minimum requirement is 120 hours, but some have stayed for up to 4 years, and two are now permanent employees. Most interns find the program through the website or e-letters. Or, as in the case with Adachi, neighborhood list-serves.

While most interns have an environmental, communications and/or media studies background, anyone with a general interest in recycling is welcome. Interns come from local colleges, but have also come from other states and one even from as far away as Scotland. Seasoned professionals that are looking for a new career path or who just have any interest in recycling are also welcomed. You can learn more about the program by clicking here.

Congratulations to Baltimore County on reaching this milestone. Here’s to another 100 interns!