A $2 million grant has been renewed by the USDA to fund more than 200 hands-on water management internships – primarily for Latino students in the California State University (CSU) system. The Watershed Management Internship Program is part of CSU’s Water Resources and Policy Initiatives (WRPI). With an undergraduate Latino student enrollment of at least 25 percent, participating colleges include California State San Bernardino and multiple California Community College campuses.
At the start of 2016, the grant will fund 50 paid internships a year for four years at participating schools. “The USDA grant funding will provide students with an opportunity to learn water management techniques essential to sustain California’s water supply during our current drought and well into the future,” said WRPI Director Boykin Witherspoon III during an interview with Highland Community News, “It will also provide underserved students with paid internships, which are invaluable to student success and employment opportunities.”
Through these internships, selected applicants will participate in field work ranging from assisting CSU professors with watershed research, to working at the USDA or various state agencies that manage state water resources. The internship allows for a practical hands-on approach that will give students the necessary skills and qualifications to apply for entry-level positions at the USDA and its agencies once they graduate. 
More than 250 water experts from around the state have participated in the creation of the Watershed Management Internship Program. Christina Rodriguez, internship manager for the Water Resources Institute at CSUB, highlights the importance the state is placing on this program for their state’s future. “What is most impactful about this effort is that we are exposing young residents of this state to the problems associated with a scarce water supply early in their careers. This helps them to understand their role in the situation and how they can contribute to making California more livable – beyond taking a shorter shower.”
 Highland Community News. ÚSDA-CSU internship program addresses California’s water crisis. Highland Community News.