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*** 2024 Applications have closed. Thank you for your interest in the program! ***

About the Program


The Summer Youth CoLab is an award winning* six-week paid summer internship introducing high-school students to design concepts and career opportunities. Through activities and field visits, interns will learn about architecture, landscape architecture, city planning + urban design, graphic design, and interior design. 


With this knowledge, interns will have the opportunity to  develop a design for a space in Columbus and work individually and in teams to come up with a final proposal that will take ideas from paper to the real world. Interns will also be able to develop soft skills like teamwork, communication, and problem solving, and also have time to develop a portfolio and resume for mock interviews.


*2024 Voices of Design Recipient

A few things to know...


There is no fee to apply for this program. However, as this is a paid internship, applicants must comply with legal requirements for employment, including obtaining a Minor Work permit (State of Ohio). Students must be enrolled in a school within Franklin County, with preference give to those within Columbus corporation limits. Selected applicants will be invited to participate in a 30-minute virtual interview.

The Neighborhood Design Center will require all program staff complete a background check.

Have a question?

Call | 614-221-5001

Email |

2024 Program Support Provided By

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  • Is there a fee to apply?
    No. There is no application or program fee.
  • Who can write my letter of recommendation?
    We ask that the letter of recommendation comes from a non-related adult that can speak to your character. This may include, but is not limited to: - A Teacher - A Former Work Supervisor - A Former Counselor or Program Coordinator - A Church Leader This person should be able to share why you are a good fit for this program.
  • What should the letter of recommendation say?
    The letter of recommendation should highlight why you would be a good fit for the program. This can include speaking to your skills, interests in design, and/or previous workplace observations. Additionally, the letter must include the recommenders name and contact information (email and/or phone).
  • When is the program?
    The program begins June 24, 2024 and ends August 2, 2024.
  • What are the program hours?
    The program will take place Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM - 2:00PM.
  • Where will the program take place?
    The program will primarily take place at the Directions for Youth and Family Crittenton Center annex building (3860 Kimberly Parkway, Columbus, OH 43232). Additional locations will include design firms and sites around Columbus, Ohio.
  • I have a family trip planned and may miss a few days. Can I still participate?
    Yes. We understand that trips may be planned with family or outside obligations. We ask that interns communicate when they will be unable to attend. The program is only 6-weeks so long-term travel plans may exclude participation in the program. Please note that interns will not be paid for days they do not work. Additionally, the program will observe the 4th of July holiday.
  • Do interns need to provide their own supplies?
    No. The program will provide any materials for the activities and project implementation.
  • Who will be staffing this program?
    Two program coordinators will be available daily to support and mentor interns. Program coordinators are current college students in design related fields. All program staff will be required to obtain background checks and go through training to ensure the safety of interns. Additionally, NDC staff will oversee program coordinators and manage the day-to-day operations of the program.
  • Do interns need to provide their own lunch?
    No, lunch will be provided to interns for the duration of the program. We request that any food allergies and/or dietary considerations be shared with program staff.
  • Does the program provide transportation?
    The program will provide transportation for activities occurring during program hours (field trips, site visits, firm visits). Parents and/or guardians are responsible for pick-up and drop-off of interns. Some transportation assistance is available to those in need.
  • What is the dress code?
    Interns are not required to dress formally for this program. However, we do ask that interns consider the activities and settings they will be in throughout the program. General Work Day: Please refrain from any clothing containing vulgar or inappropriate words or graphics. Interns are welcome to be more casual, but we ask that you avoid sleepwear, loungewear, or athleisure clothing (Example: jeans and a t-shirt, blouse, or polo shirt) Implementation Days: As we will be on site and getting our hands dirty, interns are welcome to dress in clothing that they are ok getting paint, dirt, or sweat on. Presentation Days/Firm Visits: As we will be entering a more professional setting, we request that interns dress appropriately for visits. Interns will be made aware of when these visits will take place. If additional support is required, please communicate with program staff.
  • How do SYC interns get paid?
    Interns will be paid bi-weekly for hours worked. As part of the hiring process, interns can select to have funds deposited directly into a savings and/or checking account, or opt to receive a physical check.
  • How many participants will the program be taking?
    The program intends to admit up to 12 program participants for a summer internship.
  • What does a Youth CoLab intern do?
    Interns will engage in a variety of activities that increase their knowledge of various forms of design (architecture, planning, etc.) and apply their learning to a real-world design project in Columbus. This will include developing and presenting design ideas and implementing the selected ideas onsite before the end of the program. Interns will also develop resumes and portfolios and participate in a mock-interview at the close of the program. The program will also visit a variety of design firms to expose interns to the variety of career opportunities and projects possible with a design degree.
  • What safety precautions are in place?
    In addition to requiring background checks, interns will be made aware of any safety procedures for the program on the first day of the program. Program staff will also maintain basic first aid supplies throughout the program. In accordance with Ohio Minor Labor Laws, interns will not be permitted to operate any power tools or heavy machinery, and will be monitored during any on-site implementation. Additional safety gear (masks, gloves, goggles, etc.) will also be provided to maintain intern safety. Interns will also be required to provide an emergency medical contact and declare any health considerations (i.e. diabetic, known allergies) to program staff at the start of the program.
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Voices of Design 2024

Youth CoLab was a 2024 recipient of the Center for Architecture and Design's Voices of Design award. Voices of Design celebrates the impact of design projects, programs, and initiatives in the Columbus community. 

Learn more about the Center for Architecture and the Voices of Design Award by clicking below. 

2023 Program Recap

2023 Program Support Provided By

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