PR Apprentice Program Helps Prepare Students for PR Careers

This fall, 16 students from four area colleges had the chance to experience the excitement and challenge of creating a public relations campaign, thanks to PRSA Rochester’s PR Apprentice Program. 

Now in its third iteration, PR Apprentice is a two-day boot camp-style competition, where teams of students are challenged to create an original public relations campaign for a local nonprofit. This year, students developed proposals for an awareness campaign for the Ibero Action American League’s Summer of Opportunity Program. 

Their mission: to create an outreach plan that would help Ibero recruit professionals to serve as mentors for students in the Summer of Opportunity program, a six-week job preparedness initiative for high school students. 

To help the students develop their proposals, more than 10 Rochester communications professionals-many of whom are members of PRSA-served as coaches throughout the weekend, observing their efforts, helping them remain focused on their objectives, and sharing guidance. 

After the end of their second work day, the four teams presented their proposals to a panel of judges, including Carlet Cleare, 13WHAM TV; Nadine General, Dixon Schwabl; Leah Angela, Ibero Action League; and Yesenia Ramos, PODER. 

“The Apprentice Program was my first hands-on experience doing something that I’d like to do for the rest of my life,” said one participant. “The program proved to me that I could hold my own in PR.” 

The PR Apprentice Program is co-sponsored by PRSA’s Diversity and Young Professional Committees. The planning team included Sarah Blackwell, Nadine General, Jessica DiLuglio, Elaina Mancuso, Laquanda Fields, Tricia Cruz, Emily Drzewiecki, David Kassnoff, Bryn Virkler, Melissa Greco Lopes, and Jim Mignano. 

The committee is already planning for the 2017 PR Apprentice Program. To join the team, or for more information, email