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Career Opportunity

Capital & Planning Division - Student Intern Program, Summer 2024 – Open Space Planning and Project Management - Recreation & Parks, (5380)

Recruitment: REF33892E

Published: November 08, 2023


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Department: Recreation & Park Commission
Job class: 5380-Student Design Trainee I, Arch., Engr., & Planning
Pay range: $34.875/hr - $34.875/hr
Role type: Temporary Exempt What does this mean?
Hours: Intern


Application Opening:  November 8, 2023; Closing:  January 15, 2024

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is seeking student interns in planning, landscape architecture and engineering disciplines, to support our Capital and Planning Division for a year-long (or longer) part-time internship. This is a great opportunity to work during the summer and the following school year as an integral part of our Division.  

Amid a dynamic and ever-evolving urban landscape, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department stewards one of the premier urban park systems in America. San Francisco recently became the first city in the United States for which 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park.  Considered by San Franciscans to be one of the City’s most popular and effective public agencies, our Department manages and maintains more than 225 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces in San Francisco, including two outside of city limits: Sharp Park in Pacifica and Camp Mather in the High Sierras. Our 4,100- acre system includes 25 recreation centers, 9 swimming pools, 5 golf courses and numerous athletic facilities, including sports courts, ball diamonds, soccer fields and gymnasiums. Included in the department’s responsibilities are Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower, the Marina Yacht Harbor, the Palace of Fine Arts, and TPC Harding Park golf course. 

More than 2,000 talented individuals are part of our team, from gardeners, foresters, and recreation leaders to park rangers, custodians, electricians, painters and more. Our core mission, as it has been throughout our history, is to provide opportunities for San Francisco residents and visitors alike to gather, play, learn, relax, and enjoy nature in the city. 

Please visit to learn more about the department’s core values, Racial Equity Initiative, leadership team, Strategic Plan, history, budget and more.

Role description

Students in Graduate Degree Programs studying the following are encouraged to apply: 

  • Architecture    
  • Engineering (Architectural, Civil, Environmental, Structural, Transportation and Water Resources Engineering) 
  • Geography 
  • Planning or Urban Planning 
  • Project Management 
  • Landscape Architecture        
  • Environmental Design 
  • Sustainability 
  • Environmental Studies 
  • Public Policy

Interns will gain on-the-job experience under the guidance of experienced professional planners, landscape architects, architects, and engineers, and while participating in various activities in the assigned discipline. The internship runs from Summer 2024 to Summer 2025 or longer. Interns are eligible to work part-time for 6-months post-graduation or 6 months after they stop taking classes.  

The compensation will be $34.87 per hour.   

Work Schedule 
The City and County of San Francisco is a hybrid environment, and full-time staff work in the office a minimum of 3 days per week. Intern in-office or hybrid arrangements are subject to departmental discretion and may vary depending on average hours worked per week. Intern candidates must be able to report to work in person in San Francisco a minimum of twice a week during the school year. Candidates are expected to work 16-20hrs/week during the school year and can work up to 32hrs/week during school vacation periods. 

Application Deadline:  Applicants are encouraged to apply immediately as this recruitment may close at any time, but no earlier than Monday, January 15, 2024 

We are offering two types of intern positions in two separate teams within our Capital & Planning Division, our Planning team and our Project Management team.  

Capital and Planning Division 

The Capital & Planning Division is responsible for delivering a portfolio of over 80 Capital Improvement Projects with a value of over $600M to San Francisco City parks. In addition to improvements to existing recreational facilities in the city, the division is also responsible for the identification, acquisition and development of new parks and facilities, and aligning the delivery of new parks and park improvements with San Francisco City goals and policies, and residents’ needs. 

Together with community members and park advocates, the Capital and Planning Division strives to create and renovate parks that solve social problems and enhance community resilience.   

The Planning Unit 

The Planning Unit, within the Capital and Planning Division, plans for the future of our open spaces and works on a wide range of projects that support open space improvements, development, and park acquisitions, as well as a variety of land use issues related to the City’s park system. The unit works on environmental compliance, land use planning, urban design, code enforcement, historic preservation, park improvement plans, acquisitions, grant writing, transportation demand management and public outreach as relevant to park properties. The unit is comprised of six planners, an analyst and 3-4 interns.  

Planning Intern Roles & Responsibilities:  

  • Perform site review, research and data analysis, and preparation of reports related to property acquisition, park improvement projects and natural resources.  

  • Prepare informational and analytical maps and graphic materials using ArcGIS software and the Adobe Creative Suite. 

  • Prepare presentations and staff reports to citizen advisory groups and the Recreation and Park Commission; assist project managers at community meetings; conduct user intercept surveys. 

  • Analyze existing and proposed open spaces and population growth impacts. 

  • Assist planning staff with review, analysis and preparation as needed of Environmental Review documents such as California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reviews and SF Planning Dept Certificates of Appropriateness (CoA) for projects impacting Recreation and Park facilities. 

  • Evaluate shadow impact studies for Proposition K (SF’s “Sunlight Ordinance”) analysis and prepare reports with recommendations for Commission consideration.  

  • Assist in grant applications through grant writing, policy and environmental sciences research, and graphics preparation. 

  • Monitor and update capital project schedules in Airtable and other software. 

  • Basic administrative support including filing, ordering supplies, receiving mail, data entry, word processing, creating spreadsheets, and other administrative tasks as needed.  


Project Management 

The Project Management/Capital Program is funded from multiple sources including general obligation bonds, a property tax set aside (Open Space Fund), grants, and philanthropic donations. The program includes the renovation and new construction of a variety of neighborhood and citywide recreational facilities. Current capital projects include the renovation of various community recreation and aquatic centers; park landscape, playground, and clubhouse improvements; natural area and trail construction; restoration of significant historic park sites and structures; and master planning and programming for future park improvements. The team is comprised of 14 project managers and 2 interns. 

Project Management Intern Roles & Responsibilities

  • Research historical park construction documents for park and recreation improvement projects. 

  • Prepare informational and graphic material for community outreach and grant applications using Adobe Creative Suite and potentially CAD – creating site maps, plans, etc. 

  • Additional support for community meetings including taking notes, analyzing survey results, and follow up communications. 

  • Photograph site conditions at various park locations, including organizing project photos. 

  • Basic administrative support including filing, ordering supplies, receiving mail, data entry, word processing, creating spreadsheets, and other administrative tasks. 

  • Posting notices related to projects on-site at various locations in SF. 

How to qualify


Education: At the time you submit your application, you must be enrolled in an accredited university or a community college in the following related fields: 

  • Architecture    
  • Engineering (Architectural, Civil, Environmental, Structural, Transportation and Water Resources Engineering) 
  • Geography 
  • Planning or Urban Planning 
  • Project Management 
  • Landscape Architecture        
  • Environmental Design 
  • Sustainability 
  • Environmental Studies 
  • Public Policy

You must be returning to your undergraduate program or entering/continuing a graduate program in the Fall 2024. 

Students who will soon graduate are encouraged to apply. 

You can still apply if you are in your second-to-last or last semester, as you may still be selected for the program within six months of graduation. 

Candidates must be willing to learn planning, architectural, and engineering practices depending on the area of interest. 

Candidates must be prepared to receive on-the-job training to acquire the ability to apply professional standards and develop architectural, engineering and planning skills. 


Preferred candidates should be current graduate students in an Urban Planning, Geography, or similar graduate program, with at least one year left of schoolwork.  

Project Management

Preferred candidates should be current graduate students in Landscape Architecture, Architecture, or an architecture/landscape architecture related field (such as Environmental Design, Sustainability) with at least one year left of schoolwork. 



We are looking for individuals who: 

  • Are highly organized and detailed-oriented to successfully navigate complexity 

  • Willing to assist professional staff in the preparation of plans and in compiling and preparing technical, and statistical data in the form of reports, graphs, maps, and charts; may assist in field investigations and in collecting data 

  • Willing to learn how to or can prepare or assist professional staff in preparing studies, calculations, designs, drawings, sketches, and plans using AutoCAD and other software tools 

  • Can assist in the preparation of maps, charts, photographs, and other graphic presentations to illustrate planning studies 

  • Receive and review permit and planning applications, construction plans and supporting documentation for completeness, accuracy and conformance with local, state, and federal codes and other applicable established criteria and entering application data into the database and tracking system 

  • Think critically through their work and continuously recommend improvements 

  • Are comfortable using professional judgment to provide architectural, engineering and planning knowledge to supervisors and managers 

  • Are self-motivated, able to work independently, and open to feedback 

  • Are comfortable with research and formulating potential solutions/ courses of action 

  • Candidates must have previous work experience and working knowledge of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite 

  • Project Management intern candidates must have previous experience in AutoCAD.   

  • Planning intern candidates must have previous experience in ArcGIS.  

What else should I know?

Important Information for Applying – Please read carefully: 

Use the ‘upload resume’ feature at the top of the application page to pre-fill the page. This will also automatically attach your resume to the application. 

You must attach the following: 

1.  Proof of your community college, undergraduate or graduate school education (Master’s or PhD program).  This can be an official or unofficial transcript, diploma, class schedule, or other document that shows your current enrollment or student status with your school.  Submission date for college transcripts may be extended if it is impossible to obtain by the January 15, 2024 application deadline. Applicants must submit a signed statement explaining why transcripts cannot be obtained by the filing date.  Extension requests will be granted on a case-by-case basis. It is the applicant’s sole responsibility that all application materials and support documentation be received in a complete and legible form.       


2.  Cover letter (PDF only, limited to 1 page) briefly addressing your interest in Open Space Planning AND/OR Project Management, and career goals.  Please indicate in the Cover Letter which internship you are applying for: Planning or Project Management. If you are qualified, you may apply for both. 


Applications without these attachments will be considered incomplete and may not move on in the hiring process.  If you have any questions or need assistance, you may contact the following staff.  For questions about the internship positions, contact or for questions about the application and selection process, contact 

Next steps

  • Invitations to interview will be sent tentatively between February 1-9, 2024.  

  • Interviews will be conducted tentatively between February 12-March 1, 2024.  

  • Selected candidates will be notified tentatively between March 4-22, 2024.  

The selection process will include evaluation of applications in relation to minimum requirements.  Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications are not guaranteed advancement to the interview. 

Depending on the number of applicants, the Recreation and Park Department may establish and implement additional screening mechanisms to comparatively evaluate the qualifications of candidates.  If this becomes necessary, only those applicants whose qualifications most closely meet the needs of the Recreation and Park Department will be invited to participate in the oral/performance interview.  Your resume and cover letter will be used for scoring in selection processes and interviews. 

Applicants will be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point during the recruitment and selection process. More information can be found at: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco. 

What else should I know? 

Exempt employment 
This role is exempt from the San Francisco Civil Service Rules, and employment is at the discretion of the appointing officer for a period not-to-exceed 1,040 hours worked in a fiscal year. 

My application 
Applicants will be contacted by email about this recruitment and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that the email address on the application is accurate and accessible. Also, applicants must ensure that our emails are not blocked by a spam filter. To prevent blocking, applicants should set up their email to accept mail from 

After successfully submitting the application, you will receive a confirmation email that your application has been received. You should retain this confirmation email for your records.  Failure to receive this email means that your application was not submitted or received. 

Additional Information Regarding Employment with the City and County of San Francisco: 

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines. 

Candidates for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164. 

Race and Social Equity Statement:  We believe that parks and open space in San Francisco provides the opportunity to model equitable access for all. With this belief, San Francisco became the first city in the United States for which 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park. The Recreation and Park Department’s goal is to close the gaps and improve equity and access to quality parks and open space, and recreation activities for historically marginalized communities. We envision a department that proactively infuses racial and social equity in its internal operations. With a multidisciplinary team of talented individuals - gardeners, recreation leaders, park rangers, custodians, craft shop personnel, park and recreation managers and more, the department is committed to doing its part to provide equitable access to parks and programs for all the communities we serve to enjoy, as well as foster a work environment where our differences are celebrated, and everyone has what they need to thrive regardless of their race, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or country of origin. 

The City and County of San Francisco encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to apply. Applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition (associated with cancer, a history of cancer, or genetic characteristics), HIV/AIDS status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military and veteran status, or other protected category under the law.