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Work and Learn in Olympia

One of the country’s most highly regarded legislative internships, our program offers students a wonderful opportunity to learn the legislative process and gain professional work experience. Interns spend winter quarter or spring semester working in Olympia for members of the Washington State House of Representatives or Senate while earning academic credit from their schools. As an intern, you will work alongside state officials and legislative staff to learn first-hand about public policy, build real-world professional skills, and serve the citizens of Washington State.

Interns are placed with legislators’ offices and work in Olympia as full-time staff while the Legislature is in session (January through March or April every year). In addition to their office work, interns take part in hands-on activities including training in legislative ethics, writing and research, a budget exercise, mock committee hearings and floor debate, and a job shadow at a state agency. Interns also participate in seminars and workshops with state officials, policymakers, journalists, and lobbyists, offering networking opportunities and a global view of the political process.  

The Legislative Policy Internship is paid, and must be taken for academic credit at a four-year college or university. Credit amounts and other academic requirements are determined by the school. Washington college juniors and seniors of any age and any major are eligible to apply.

Applications for the 2015 internship will be open from August 25-October 17, 2014.


  • Conduct legislative research
  • Attend committee hearings and legislative meetings
  • Correspond with constituents and state agencies
  • Track legislation
  • Draft letters, resolutions, talking points, press releases, and newsletters
  • Assist with daily office tasks
  • Participate in intern classes, workshops, and policy exercises


  • Attending a four-year college or university in Washington State OR Washington State resident attending an out-of-state college
  • Junior or senior status
  • Able to receive academic credit for the internship (see School Internship Requirements and check with your advisor or career office for your school's policy)
  • Interest in learning about public policy and the legislative process
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Good analytical and research skills
  • Professional work ethic
  • Mature judgment and commitment to following all legislative ethics laws
  • Ability to handle a fast-paced environment
  • Prior political experience is NOT necessary

Application Requirements

  • Cover letter explaining how you meet the internship qualifications
  • Résumé
  • One-page personal essay responding to the question “How does the internship fit in with your educational and career goals?”
  • Two letters of recommendation (submit here): one from a faculty member who can speak to your writing, research, and academic abilities, and one from a personal reference who can speak to your character, work ethic, judgment, and integrity. Personal references can include an employer, volunteer supervisor, church or scouting leader, coach, or someone in a similar role who knows you well. They should not be a relative.

Selection Process

  • Meet with your academic advisor and your school’s designated internship coordinators prior to applying. Applicants must follow their school’s internal process to ensure credit eligibility.
  • Applications are open from August 25 - October 17, 2014. Applications are received jointly by the House and Senate.
  • Selected candidates are interviewed in October and November by both House and Senate internship coordinators.
  • Hiring decisions are made and applicants are notified by December 1st.
  • Interns are placed with individual legislators’ offices after hiring decisions are complete.