Upon my arrival at the University of Illinois at Springfield, I was introduced to the wide variety of graduate internships available. I was surprised to learn about the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program. I immediately recognized its value and even remember wishing I had known about the program way back when. I wondered how my career path might have been different if I had known. How was it that after more than a decade working in and around the legislative arena I had never heard of it? I dubbed the program the University’s best kept secret that everyone should know about. Over the years, I have come to realize just how many of the people I worked with in around the Illinois General Assembly prior to coming to UIS were either current or former interns. And, who would have guessed that just a few years later, I would be asked to direct the program.
The Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program otherwise known as ILSIP is different from the other internships offered at UIS and from most other universities as well. ILSIP was designed to provide those interested in exploring the legislative process with an opportunity to do so. It is a purely experiential program. Interns work full-time and earn just 2 credits each semester. There is a seminar in the fall to lay the groundwork but it is all about the experience of working as a staffer for the Illinois legislature. It is a paid internship, earning a stipend of $2,300 per month over the course of the 10.5 month internship beginning in the fall semester through June 30 of the following year. The program accepts all majors from all schools in and outside of Illinois. Applicants must have completed their undergraduate degree prior to the start of the program. ILSIP offers 24 Internships with the partisan staffs (House Democratic Staff, House Republican Staff, Senate Democratic Staff, and Senate Republican Staff) along with the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. Interns are assigned to the research, appropriations, and communication units of each of the partisan staffs and provide non-partisan research to the legislature with the Commission. In addition to the paid internship, ILSIP also picks up the cost of the tuition and fees including student insurance and provides the books associated with the seminar.
Over the years, I have observed the career paths of our interns as they pursued their dream jobs. Today, ILSIP interns are sprinkled throughout the legislative arena, state government and beyond as key staff, lawyers, lobbyists, and elected officials. In the fall, ILSIP celebrates its 60th anniversary. As this tapestry of opportunity continues to grow, become a part as an intern or pass this information along to someone who may be interested in becoming a member of the next ILSIP cohort.
If this internship opportunity interests you or brings a student or graduate to mind, now is the time to submit applications. The program has moved to an online application. For more information about the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program (ILSIP) check out the website at https://www.uis.edu/illaps/ilsip/ or apply now https://apply.uis.edu/apply/. Applications are due March 15, 2021.
For additional information about the program or application process, contact Barbara Van Dyke-Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 206-6579.