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Internship Programs

Hands-on job-training internships for Bay Area youth

About the Internship

We offer unique hands-on job-training internship programs for over 50 youth from across the East Bay. Youth interns are fully integrated into the operations of sustainably operated workshops that provide services for the public, allowing youth to gain job experience while serving members of the local community. With careful oversight by our advanced interns and staff, our unique model allows youth from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and abilities to play a vital role in the operations of our social enterprises.

In addition to job training, we offer outdoor recreation opportunities and wraparound services to our youth participants. We help connect youth to to basic services such as housing, food, and medical and mental health care. We also provide in-house therapy, counseling, and crisis intervention services. Additionally, we maintain a pool of gap-funds that allows us to directly fund temporary emergency housing, food, or clinical therapeutic services when needed.

Our internships give youth the opportunity to develop soft and hard skills that open up employment pathways in a range of well-paying jobs in the outdoor recreation, the maritime and construction trades, and service and retail sectors.

We offer both paid and unpaid internships to youth ages 14-24. Many of our interns come to us through our established partnerships with local workforce development organizations and programs. Through generous support from the community, we are able to offer internships at no charge for participants. We are also able to offer paid internships directly to youth on a case-by-case basis.

Our standard internship length is 120 hours, though this can be extended based on intern interest, performance, and availability. We promote the internal advancement of interns within Waterside, by hiring former interns onto part and full-time staff roles. Upwards of half of our staff are former program participants who serve as mentors to younger interns.

We accept interns into our program on a rolling basis year-round. Explore our specific program internships below.

Street Level Cycles Internships

Street Level Cycles is our youth bicycle mechanics and bicycle reuse program. Interns learn every aspect of bicycle repair and maintenance during their internship, and play a vital role in the operations of our bike shop. Each year, we process over 1,000 donated bicycles. Interns help in the assessment, recycling, and refurbishing of bikes for sale in our retail shop or our bike giveaway programs. Interns provide bike repair assistance to the public during our weekend Community Open Shop. Youth also have the opportunity to earn a bike for themselves by completing our mechanical checklist and developing the skills and expertise that will be needed to maintain their new bicycle.

Advanced interns gain job experience in retail sales and repair, customer service & communication, inventory, use of a Point of Sale System, and teach bike repair to novice interns. Graduates of this program have gone on to work at other bike shops, bike manufacturers, automotive repair shops, and a host of other industries.

Berkeley Boathouse Internships

In this program, youth work alongside our skilled instructors learning woodworking and traditional wooden boat building. Working in a small boat shop helps youth to quickly develop vocational skills in the areas of woodworking and construction, while providing a real-world application for product design, physics, and geometry. Depending on their interest, students can apply their experience in the boat shop to a variety of trades or areas of study.

Youth interns take the boats that they have built out at the Berkeley Aquatic Park and South Sailing Basin of San Francisco Bay. For many of our youth interns, this is their first time in a boat. On weekends, youth interns provide boat rentals to the general public.

Graduates of our boat program have found employment in the construction industry and in union training programs.

Waterside Cafe Internships

Waterside Café is our barista training program youth-run coffee shop. Youth interns gain valuable food service and customer service experience preparing espresso-based coffee drinks, local pastries, and snacks for customers. Interns help with ordering supplies, maintaining a clean food-service environment, and assisting with boat rentals.

Graduates of our cafe program have found employment in a number of local cafes, restaurants, and other service industries.

Note: This program is currently closed as we revamp the cafe and associated internship program. Check back later for internship opportunities.