By Shelcie Takenouchi
This month’s column is brought to you by Shelcie Takenouchi, a recent graduate of Kaua`i High School and an intern with Fujita & Miura Public Relations. Congratulations to Shelcie on her acceptance to USC where she will pursue a public relations major!

As a college bound student itching to get out of high school, I can’t wait to explore the many opportunities at college that will help me become an outstanding prospect in my chosen profession. I aspire to have a career in public relations. Truth be told, until recently, I didn’t even know a profession such as public relations existed.

What I did know was that I found pleasure in listening to and communicating with other people and participating in discussions about society, our local economy, world issues, and ethical issues. I also had an appreciation for the English language and I enjoyed writing.

Many students graduate from high school not knowing what they want to major in or what they want to become. Although beginning college with an “undecided” major is perfectly fine, being aware of your interests can be a huge factor in choosing a future career.

I felt like the black sheep at school because it seemed that everyone knew what they wanted to become. Among my classmates there were future nurses, doctors, and engineers. So, I decided to take action. Several months ago, my father told me about Fujita & Miura Public Relations and suggested that I consider asking the company’s partners Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte if I could be their intern, to find out if public relations was the field for me. I followed my dad’s advice and I found my intern experience to be totally awesome. With the help of Jenny and Joy, I have gotten a glimpse at what public relations is all about and the work experience has made me excited to go to college and study the field.

Businesses of all kinds and sizes can offer a great community service by offering internship programs to high school students. There are many students out there who, like me, just want to explore their interests and potential careers. Allowing students the opportunity to intern gives them an edge over other students who are completely baffled about what they aspire to become.

According to a study done by Manchester College (NACE Job Outlook 2004), “Employers report that 59% of their new hires have internship experience” and that they “rate internship programs as the most effective recruiting method they use for hiring new graduates.” The Gold, NACE Colleges, Employers Report on Experiential Education goes on to say that “Companies offered 56.9% of student interns at their organizations full-time jobs after graduation.”

By allowing students to intern for just a few months, businesses can help students assess their interests and skills, prepare young people for successful careers, and in turn, strengthen our local economy. As an added bonus, in keeping with the above statistics, interns often return to the business that they interned with fresh out of college and become a vital part of the company.

Having confidence in selecting a college major has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I am so thankful that Jenny and Joy offered me this opportunity to intern for them, and I would gladly help them out in any way possible in the future.

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