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Internship Program Saves Greenburgh $1M

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — An internship work-study program has saved Greenburgh at least $1 million by having college students work in town departments, program coordinator Mona Fraitag said Thursday.

Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Berkeley College President Dario Cortes spoke at a news conference Thursday about the partnership between the town and the college.  The college is located at 99 Church St.

"It's providing students in the federal work study program with real-life experience in town government," Feiner said.

The program began in June when the town discovered a backlog of 100,000 unprocessed parking tickets, Fraitag said. The Citizens Budget Oversight Commission suggested that doing the processing with student interns, paid by a federal education grant, instead of hiring additional employees could save the town hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Since then, Fraitag said, the town's files have become more efficient to access because they are online. Instead of hiring at least seven new workers — each being paid between $50,000 to $75,000 a year, plus benefits — the town increased its revenue by "well over $1 million" by using interns, she said.

When asked what the response of the town's unions were, Feiner said all the employees understood they were saving money with the partnership with Berkeley.

"Everyone knows budgets are tight," Feiner said. "A lot of the employees really like working with students who are assigned to Town Hall. I haven't had any complaints."

Cortes said the program has been a huge benefit to Berkeley as well because it provided students wanting to pursue a career in government with hands-on experience.

"We know how critical it is to engage in what we call teaching and learning," Cortes said. "We're very thrilled to be partnered with the Town of Greenburgh."

Current interns attended the conference to show their gratitude for the program. Carolina Patrocinio, a senior who plans to gradute in December, has worked in the courts and the Assessor's Office and will begin working with the Police Department next week.

She said she's excited about the move because the experience will go hand-in-hand with her major, criminal justice.

"I'm sad to leave, but I'm excited to learn different things and be moving on with something that has to do with my major," Patrocinio said.

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