Though many colleges now offer public relations courses and majors, PR as a field requires more professional experience than what’s taught in school for the best results. Internships represent an important part of the PR student’s education and bring lasting results if companies key into the skills students have acquired.
This is Manning’s goal. They are a small city in Iowa hoping to make the news for good reasons this year. The city wants to attract new employees and become a popular destination for tourists vacationing away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Drake University students began studying Manning’s goals for a year to see what strategies could make them a reality. Now, Brennan Haymond, a graduating senior at Drake University, plans to spend eight weeks in Manning over the summer, putting plans in place that students drafted during their year of study.
The students suggested regional partnerships to provide access to more attractions tourists might enjoy while visiting. The city also hopes to offer discounts to tourists from restaurants and other local businesses as well as other incentives to drive repeat business and encourage people to visit from other communities and from out-of-state.
The city also intends posting job vacancies publicly around the state to attract more employees.
Benefits to the Students
Haymond came out on top as the student implementing real world strategies. However, all the students in the study benefited from hands-on experience, while working with Manning.
This experience taught them what it’s like to work with clients in achieving goals. While hypothetical projects in school create a similar effect and teaches similar lessons, nothing beats experience in the field.
Benefits to Manning
This study and the opportunity to work with Haymond also benefits the city. PR specialists can boost visibility, and help manage crisis situations.
These services can be costly, and often because of the cost, can turn public opinion against the entity. Taxpayers would rather see money poured into infrastructure and education than hiring PR experts.
Manning’s two-year partnership with Drake University allows it to use the expertise of students and instructors for a fraction of the cost. This keeps PR costs low, markets Manning as a city where graduates have opportunities for success, and contributes to the education of its youth.
What more could any city ask for – large or small? The opportunities are endless.
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