As a Grand Rapidian during the school year but proud metro-Detroiter at heart, I have some PR experience in both cities. The Motor City, along with its bustling suburbs, offers numerous PR opportunities for young professionals. From sports, media, healthcare, and nonprofits to—of course—automobiles, the metro-Detroit area has it all. Below, I will list some industries that are unique to the Detroit area and that provide opportunities for PR professionals. I will also list some updates from some of our alumni working in the Detroit area.
Some industries in Metro-Detroit:
Automotive: The big one here. Despite foreign competition and the Great Recession, the “Big 3” (Ford, GM, and FCA/Chrysler) employs approximately 100,000 people. A large industry such as this one demands strong communication professionals, public relations specialists, and advertisers. Even if you know nothing about cars, opportunities are still present. Social media, multicultural PR, internal PR, and human resources are valuable to large corporations.
Speaking from personal experience, the auto industry is exciting. I have covered the North American International Auto Show before with GM’s “Discover Your Drive” student journalism program. Despite my limited knowledge of auto mechanics, I was able to walk around with confidence and learn more about the latest trends, innovations, and market research. (Read my blog about my experience). What I learned is that the auto industry is more than just the production of vehicles. From branding, media relations, to government relations and community outreach, automakers are often at the center of communities, and need professionals to build and maintain those important relationships.
Sports: Detroit is the home of the Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, and Pistons (and possibly a professional soccer team in the future). There is also a growing minor league baseball scene—the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Opportunities for marketing and PR internships are a plenty if sports are your passion.
Nonprofits & Charities: As with any major metropolitan area, nonprofits are a vital part of the community. From the arts to children, mentoring, animal welfare, and much more, the Motor City has countless opportunities for those seeking to work in the nonprofit sector. The Metro Detroit area is also served by the Archdiocese of Detroit, the seventh-largest diocese in the nation, which offers Catholic charities for many individuals. Both nonprofits and charities seek help, especially from communications professionals, to drive their mission.
What our recent alumni are up to:
Account executive at Weber Shandwick in Detroit. Tyler served as GVSU PRSSA’s President during the 2015-2016 year. He specializes in multicultural communications and helped organize GM’s Discover Your Drive program.
Project Manager at Hunch Free in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Kelly served as GVSU PRSSA’s Director of Social Media and started the podcast PR Hangover. Listen to her farewell podcast where she talks about her plans upon graduation. Kelly specializes in social media and digital strategy.
Social media intern at Quicken Loans for summer 2017. If you attended GVSU last year, you have probably heard her name before for organizing TEDxGVSU, being named West Michigan’s PRSA Student of the Year, leading GrandPR as the CEO, or serving on GVSU PRSSA’s e-board. See what Jaclyn has been up to since her internship in GrandPR's blog about it.
As you can see, the Motor City offers many opportunities for PR professionals. If working in Detroit is your goal, networking with our alumni there is a great start. Grab a bite to eat in the Eastern Market, take a stroll down the riverwalk, or catch a Tiger’s game at Comerica, and enjoy what Detroit has to offer.
Aaron Robert is a junior majoring in Advertising & Public Relations and minoring in Writing. He serves as the Vice President of Public Relations for GVSU PRSSA and has been an Account Associate for GrandPR. He also mentors youth through the GVSU Pals Student Mentors program. In his free time, Aaron enjoys creative writing, drawing, and training with the GVSU Running Club.