An examination and proposed improvement of the Carroll College Public Relations Department Internship Program
Carroll College students wishing to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations are required to complete one 120-hour, unpaid internship. This internship must be approved by college administration and Communication Department faculty. Personal experience in this program prompted me to find a way to help students and businesses get the most from a Carroll College Public Relations intern. Today, more individuals are entering the job market with college degrees than ever before, making previous experience an even more important determinant in who gets hired for jobs. If a relevant internship with a detailed job description appears on a resume, an individual is more likely to be considered for a job. Carroll College has the ability to increase the likelihood that its Public Relations majors graduate with that valuable experience if it improves the current internship program. This can be done in part by creating internships where students and businesses are matched according to skills, tasks, and interest in the organization’s field. Thorough examination of the Carroll College Public Relations internship program uncovered weaknesses and developed improvements. Current problems have been identified as a lack of structure to the program, no protocol for providing feedback on interns or organizations, and no set assignments. Another concern for students is the informal method of seeking internships. This thesis offers a plan to improve the program, by implementing set meeting times with the program director, by providing a feedback system for both interns and employers, by setting specific assignments, and by establishing an internship library, making internships more mutually satisfying to all who are involved. Taking these steps to improve the Carroll College Public Relations Internship program will benefit each student and faculty member in the Public Relations program, as well as many Helena area businesses.