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Internship

Interning at Washington Union Station

An Information Sheet

Deadline: Monday, Nov. 26

 

Contact Information:

Project Coordinator: Tom Smith, 240-241-7963, tom@travelersaid.org 
On-Site Supervisors: Shelia Dashiell, MA Counseling, Program Manager, 202-371-1937
Willie Ringold, DSW, Director of Social Services, 202-371-1937

 

Program:

Travelers Aid is sponsoring an internship program for area college students. It is targeting those students either majoring in social work or hospitality. There will be a maximum of 5 intern positions.

The internship will be the Second or Spring Semester, beginning in January and running until May. Recruiting and screening will be completed by the December holiday break.

Next year, the internship will be the whole year. Recruiting and screening will be completed by May.

Core Information:

Work alongside an experienced Travelers Aid volunteer for 1 shift – 4 hours – each week. The Travelers Aid Information Booth at Union Station is open 9:30 – 5:30, Monday thru Saturday, and 12:30 – 5:30, Sunday. As a volunteer, there will not be any compensation.

Key Intern Attributes:

Committed to consistently working the weekly shift, A desire and willingness to help the public, A warm, outgoing personality – not an introvert, Works well with others, Enjoys learning new things, Attention to detail, Able to quickly retain information, and Willing to conform to suggested dress code/uniform

Who is Travelers Aid:

Travelers Aid has been operating in Washington since 1912 when it opened in Union Station. Today, it also has operations at both airports, Reagan and Dulles. The Washington operation is part of a social services movement that began in 1851. Locally, Travelers Aid is both a social services provider and a customer service help agency. At all 3 Washington locations, it assists travelers with a variety questions concerning tourism, hospitality, basic directions and travel snags. At Union Station, certified social workers assist those who are “stranded” on life’s journey and in need of shelter, counseling or emergency transports. Travelers Aid relies on volunteers to provide the bulk of its services. In Washington, 750 Travelers Aid volunteers assisted more than 4.2 million travelers in 2017.

Union Station Travelers:

The Information Booth is located within the Amtrak waiting area and is easily accessible to the traveling public, Union Station visitors and the members of the public in distress. As the city’s multi-modal transportation hub – rails, subways, inter-city buses and taxis – Union Station is a busy place, especially when major events take place on Capitol Hill or the Mall. These events include major marches and protests as well as community events, such as the July 4 fireworks.

Our volunteers assist more than 210,000 travelers each year with directions. In addition our social services staff assists an additional 1,400 individuals who may be homeless; suffering from mental illness; jobless or underemployed; victims of domestic abuse or human trafficking; and those stranded without the resources to get home. In each of these cases, our social workers screen them and make referrals to the most appropriate local agency. Each year, Travelers Aid provides about 350 bus tickets to those stranded or homeless individuals to travel home to their families.

The Internship:

An intern will work a weekly 4-hour shift at the Information Booth inside Union Station. The shift can be on any of the 7 operating days and will be scheduled by the program manager.

In the early weeks of the semester, each intern will follow the same training process as our other volunteers. An intern will receive on-the-job training by staff and will be paired with experienced volunteers. As each intern gains experience and maturing in the job they will gain greater independence staffing the information booth. Individual students will gain experience in dealing with a diverse group of people asking the simplest questions to those with major life traumas. In addition, the interns will gain experience working alongside our volunteers – a diverse group of mostly retired individuals with a wide range of professional and life experiences. As the interns gain experience and confidence, they will get an opportunity to observe our social workers interviewing and assisting clients who are in need of crisis intervention services.

What will the Intern Gain:

It is expected an intern will gain invaluable experience in dealing with a wide-range of people experiencing a variety of major and minor crises. It is an ideal opportunity to develop people skills, especially the art of listening and the ability to calm a situation. For the social work major, it is an opportunity to observe professionals in action and work alongside them. For the hospitality major, it is an opportunity to develop key customer engagement skills that will be critical to future employers.

Each intern will received feedback. There will both a mid-semester and end-of-semester evaluation. Travelers Aid will be happy to use your university’s evaluation forms.

It is envisioned that an intern will be a first or second year student. This experience will enable them to help focus the direction of future coursework and other internship opportunities.

 

The Job Details:

  • Participate in 15-hours of volunteer training program in the first several shifts
  • Volunteer a minimum of 4 hours per week
  • Respond to questions from passengers
  • If you don’t know the answer, please consult more experienced volunteers
  • If you encounter a passenger with a question or an issue more challenging than directions, please consult with one of the social workers.
  • Observe, with permission, conversations with social workers.

 

Application

  • Submit resume, by Nov. 26. In the cover letter, note your Spring Semester daytime availability
  • Email your materials or any questions to info@travelersaid.org. Subject line: Union Station intern

Intern Information Sheet (PDF)