My name is Will Snyder, and this summer, I am an economic development intern with the Village of Wheeling, Ill. My work primarily focuses on business development within Wheeling’s three TIF districts. I help market our restaurant and retail build-out grant to new businesses choosing to locate in our TIFs, call on local businesses to gauge their post-pandemic needs, and work to understand what resources the village can leverage to continue to grow its local economy. On a village-wide scale, I generate marketing materials for print and digital economic development publications, prepare staff reports for our board of trustees, and attend development review meetings, among other projects that may come up on a week-to-week basis.

Economic Department Director Patrick Ainsworth, AICP, is a 2011 graduate of Ball State’s MURP program and has been an incredible mentor in helping me understand economic development in a local government setting. This internship will undoubtedly contribute to my post-college interest in community and economic development in municipal government.

Our department is watching closely the flight of professionals to the suburbs and working with Chicagoland developers to gain insight on what’s next for the northwest suburbs of Chicago. While suburban development has long supported space and the top-dollar luxury of its existence in suburbs, many developers in our region have begun investing in the social opportunities we have had to abandon in the last 15 months — shared space that capitalizes on the urban benefits of walkability and mixed-use density. As we begin the long road to economic and social recovery, I have come to understand that for the City of Chicago to thrive, the Chicagoland region must not be left behind.

Each summer urban planning students embark on internships, gaining experience in that “real world” they’ve heard so much about. It’s a win-win situation as the interns provide energy and extra hands on the job for their bosses while gaining valuable skills. Internship supervisors last year rated our students “above average” or “excellent” in each of a dozen categories and assigned a 7.1 rating out of a possible 8 points. Send us a note at if your organization could benefit from a planning intern!