About Us

The IIC engages youth in building meaningful leadership and educational skills. These experiences provide opportunities to develop a working knowledge about natural and cultural resources and a variety of careers in public lands management while shaping the next generation of public land leaders and advocates.

This valuable work creates a sustainable and effective network of land management and education partners. The IIC leverages existing partner resources to expand partner capacity, supports local economies and under-served communities, shares knowledge regionally, and opens doors for youth development and education opportunities.

The IIC is the premier national partnership model in youth leadership and educational development for public land stewardship.

The IIC began in 2007 as an outgrowth of the Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism degree at SUU. Students majoring in this program needed an internship to fulfill the degree requirements. Simultaneously, several regional, federal land management agencies were endeavoring to strengthen their relationship with SUU, which included an increased emphasis on student hiring programs.

Partnering with these federal agencies, supported by an initial National Park Service grant of $25,000, the IIC assisted in the placement of 15 interns and practicum students in its first year. Impressed with the quality of SUU’s students and recognizing that the IIC format would be beneficial for agency program areas, the partners transformed the IIC from a single program emphasis to an increased multi-program emphasis, placing interns in degree-related professional fields ranging from accounting to zoology.

Today the IIC places, or directly funds, 200+ interns annually, in positions that support each partner’s respective program areas. In addition, the IIC also endeavors to support and partner with several of the region’s youth camps, reaching an additional 400+ pre-collegiate youth.

The IIC is governed by a Steering Committee whose membership is comprised of a representative from each IIC partner agency, tribe, or college. This committee manages the routine operational aspects of the program.

Each federal agency office, college department or program manager, provides representation that fills the membership of the IIC Advisory Board. This board provides input to the Steering Committee related to focus areas that are of particular value or interest to the partners.

The IIC staff at SUU (housed in the Outdoor Engagement Center) oversee the day-to-day tasks associated with running the cooperative. Together all IIC partners work in support of the IIC mission.

The IIC provides a unique organizational structure to network and communicate, access and share resources, and efficiently create and administer shared programs.

The IIC is funded primarily through federal agreements and grants.  At times, funding is provided through various foundations, non-profits and gifts. 

IIC federal partners may directly award program funding in support of the IIC’s internship and crew programs through various “agreements”.  Grants are obtained by submitting proposals prepared by IIC staff in collaboration with respective partner personnel. This collaboration has proven to be a winning combination in obtaining funding.  

Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service agency agreements fall under the umbrella of the Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Study Unit. Information on this vast research and educational network, promoting resource management can be found at http://www.cesu.psu.edu.

The IIC develops public land leaders of tomorrow through a centralized resource of committed and engaged partners. As partners, we collaborate to provide relevant and meaningful educational experiences and career opportunities to university and other youth in the region while also meeting agency partner needs for a diverse workforce. We encourage stewardship of and appreciation for the richness of the region’s lands and resources.