The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has announced a new diversity initiative aimed at attracting ethnically diverse young people to the public relations profession and providing them with useful tools to get their career started. The initiative plans to assist ethnically diverse future public relations professionals in developing industry familiarity and knowledge, relevant skills and a network of professional contacts.
“Diversity was one of my top priorities for the Society this year so I’m thrilled to announce this important initiative,” said Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRSA 2013 Chair and CEO. “Research has shown that productivity, performance and profitability is positively changed when diverse teams of people work together. The diversity of thought and background yields results in strategic decisions that more fully reflect community demographics.”
With only 8.7 percent of African-Americans/Blacks, 7.3 percent of Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders and 15.3 percent of Hispanics/Latinos, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011, possessing jobs in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations the need to shift demographics is critical.
To improve the recruitment, retention and advancement of under-represented groups (particularly African-Americans and U.S. Hispanics/Latinos) in the public relations profession, PRSA is instituting a multi-year program focused on recruitment, retention, mentoring and other career development elements. The program will include:
- A video series, laying the groundwork for how a young person can become a public relations professional;
- A student guide, providing additional information covering topics such as student coaching, networking and career fairs;
- A Mentoring program connecting potential young professionals and established veterans in the field; and
- An Ask an Expert section of the Diversity website, where students can pose questions to professionals on topics of diversity, career development, coursework suggestions and more.
The program will arm future public relations professionals with the tools necessary to help make them successful in the early stages of their career. Materials will be distributed to Historically Black Colleges and Universities Chapters, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Chapters, and to the Public Relations Student Society of America Chapters at those schools.
PRSA will draw upon the knowledge of college guidance and career counselors as well as industry practitioners with multicultural backgrounds who can speak more fluently to the challenges and barriers young African-American and Hispanic students face.