How 20 Seconds of Courage Led to an Internship Turned Career

There's nothing like an internship to open your eyes to a career path that you may have never even considered.

Benjamin Young ’20 studied political science and government and foreign affairs at Walsh University. At the beginning of his junior year, he attended a North Canton City Council meeting held on campus. During the meeting, Stephanie Werren, Ward 3 councilmember and current vice president, asked the audience of students what they could do to get Walsh better integrated with the city.  In that moment, Young boldly raised his hand and suggested the city start an internship program for government and foreign affairs majors. After the meeting, he approached a member of City Council and asked for an internship. The next summer, he began an unpaid internship with the city of North Canton for credit through Walsh. It led to a temporary paid position created to keep him on staff until November. Shortly after, he received a call from Director of Administration Patrick DeOrio with a job offer.

“It all happened very quickly,” Young said. “I had expected to graduate into a difficult job market, so the prospect of having a job was reassuring.”

Halfway through his senior year, he accepted the position as Clerk of City Council on an interim basis pending his successful graduation.  In May of 2020, he was granted the permanent position, and since then, he’s been promoted to Director of Legislative Affairs.

“I absolutely love it here at North Canton working with the people and an amazing team.  It’s a challenge every single day,” he said.  “I’ve been trying my best to address the question that Stephanie Werren posed years ago about how to integrate Walsh better.  We now have a formal internship program, we’ve approached the Chamber of Commerce about offering Walsh students discounts, and we would like to be able to come to Opening Weekend to promote places students might like to go within city limits.”

In North Canton, all of the elected officials are part-time and they’re supported by Young and others who work fulltime.  His role as a top bureaucrat is to coordinate meeting agendas, take minutes, and make sure things are filed correctly.  Every local law reviewed by legal council is written by him and his assistant.  They’re also responsible for the city’s GIS, data analytics, and most of the public engagement.   Every single project, idea, and policy that happens in North Canton passes through his office.

“Together with the Office of the Mayor, we’re working on long-term policies to re-shape and build a framework for the future,” he said.  “We feel North Canton is entering the next era of its history.”

Although Young grew up in Columbus, his family has ties to North Canton.  His mother grew up here and his grandmother was a nursing professor at Walsh.

“My favorite thing about North Canton is there is a clear sense of pride for this community,” Young said.  “Growing up in Columbus, in a district with three high schools and four middle schools, there wasn’t the same hometown feeling.  Here, the high school football stadium is filled every Friday night – not just with students, but with community members - and we have a Main Street festival every year that highlights members of our Chamber of Commerce. Our Rotary and Lions Clubs are active, and we have the only remaining Jaycees in Stark County right here in North Canton.”

Young is working toward his master’s in Public Administration through Ohio University’s online program and hopes to continue serving the city of North Canton for years to come.

 “I’m absolutely going to stay in North Canton,” he said.  “My dream would be to move up to City Administrator.  I’m slowly but surely working my way there.”