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Internship with Human Resources Administration
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Shani Wallace-Romer

Major: Labor and Employment Relations
Hometown: Teaneck, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

In looking for a summer internship, I reached out to a family friend who I knew had been working for Human Resources Administration (HRA). I told her about my interest in Human Resources and she was able to forward my resume to the internship coordinator at HRA who then reached out to me.

"As a Labor and Employment Relations major, interning under The Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Labor Relations for the Human Resources Administration of the City of New York provided me with great exposure."

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was fortunate enough to be granted the opportunity to intern for the Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Labor Relations for The Human Resources Administration of the City of New York. My internship was located in Building 4 of the World Trade Center. The preliminary plan of work and responsibilities entailed a review and research of current staff union contracts in order to check for accuracy in the seniority requirements that are listed in the Agency’s transfer system. During my internship, aside from my primary project assignment I was able to shadow my supervisor as well as the rest of the OLR staff. I attended Labor Management meetings with unions, attended OLR staff meetings, attended forums, and helped to create an OLR staff training. During the time of my internship, my supervisor’s personal secretary retired so I was able to take over her basic clerical responsibilities. Some of those duties included answering telephones; recording messages; organizing file cabinets and supply rooms; typing up meeting minutes, notes, or research about information my supervisor may need during a meeting; and providing guidance to the newer interns joining OLR.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My summer internship was directly correlated to my academic major. As a Labor and Employment Relations major, interning under The Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Labor Relations for the Human Resources Administration of the City of New York provided me with great exposure. I was able to see how things I learned in my classes are carried out in the field. I was able to gain insight into what it is like working in a Labor Relations department for a government agency. This internship allowed me to see firsthand how things such as grievances and labor management meetings are carried out within HRA. Also, I earned academic credit for this internship so I will be graded on my performance and hopefully this will impact my academic career in a positive way.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

In the future, I hope to one day become the head of an HR department or an expert in professional training and development. Before obtaining these high level jobs, I plan to graduate from Penn State. Penn State currently offers a five-year master’s program in which the students who are accepted graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master's in Human Resources and Employment Relations. Now that I am in my senior year I plan to apply for this program. Interning for HRA was directly aligned with my career plan. Through this internship I was able to gain firsthand experience working in a Labor Relations department in a city where I hope to one day become a resident. I was able to connect and network with people who have been working in the industry for ten or more years and gather insight from them. They provided me with specific information about the industry, and their agency; as well as advice on how I can obtain a job in this field in the future.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. I would recommend this internship for many reasons. This internship was a good learning experience for someone who has had no exposure working in a Labor Relations department. It was very enriching academically, the location is beautiful, the staff is supportive, and the culture of the office is very relaxed and flexible.

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