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Human Development and Family Studies

Section II | Community Relations & Community Education

Nature of the Job

The main goal of community relations personnel is to promote the company or organization being represented locally, regionally, and sometimes on a national scale. Community relations specialists may do many different kinds of things depending upon the particular needs of the employer, but these jobs always involve a lot of interaction with community groups and with the media. Basic job requirements are good interpersonal skills, organizational abilities, public speaking, and writing/computer skills. The ability to develop and maintain a web site is now a component of many job descriptions.

Community relations jobs may require any or all of the following: developing public education and outreach programs, travel, public speaking, writing news releases, writing/editing newsletters and reports, developing presentations for various departments within the organization, and organizing special events. Within very large corporate or government settings, community relations positions may be divided into specialty areas. These include jobs focusing on speech writing, public speaking, research, media relations specialists, and information officers who answer questions from the public and press and handle customer concerns.

Where You Might Work

All major corporations, hospitals, educational institutions, retail businesses, utilities, and many divisions of local, state, and federal government, and other entities, such as nonprofit organizations and sports teams, employ community relations personnel. There are many job opportunities in a wide range of settings.


Suggested Areas for Minor/Collateral:

  • Communication Studies, Public Relations

Suggested Internship Sites for HDFS 4314:

  • Covenant Hospital Guest Services
  • TTU College of Human Sciences External Relations
  • University Medical Center Community Relations

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Community Relations and Community Education

Sample Job Descriptions/Ads

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  • Booking Agents
    • Booking agents arrange for public speaking engagements for the representatives of a company or for an individual seeking public exposure. The agent is responsible for balancing the audience size to the potential audience response or participant response to the speaker.
  • Communications Personnel
    • This group includes occupations concerned with the development and distribution of favorable material in order to promote good will, develop credibility or create a favorable public image for an organization.
  • Community Relations Specialist
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills are needed for media, community and member relations. Experience with newsletters and brochures, event planning, volunteer management and membership development. Proficient in Wordperfect and desktop publishing.
  • Information Officers
    • Hired by companies and individuals to answer questions from the public and the press, an information officer may be responsible for handling problems, complaints, and concerns of customers of a manufacturer.
  • Media Relations Specialists
    • These people should have a broad working knowledge of television and print journalism. Media relations specialists may also have to work in designing and presenting commercials, public statements, and interviews.
  • Programmers
    • Programmers are responsible for scheduling coverage over a period of time. Determining the timing of advertisements, public engagements, and other presentations is all done by programmers. They evaluate the type of coverage the client wants, whether to run a long term program or a short term blitz, and they plan when and where the public exposure will come.
  • Public Relations Manager
    • Hired by a business or individual for either permanent or temporary work, the public relations manager sets the agenda for public appearances, advertising campaigns, and other scheduled events that influence the public’s image and awareness of the client. Public relations managers regularly work alone in small business and for individuals such as politicians.
  • Researchers
    • The job of the researcher is to find out the public’s opinion about the company. This may involve polling, interviews, questionnaires, etc. Thus, he/she researches the public’s attitude or view of the company.
  • Speakers
    • For organizations that do not have enough staff or qualified individuals to give public presentations a speaker may be hired whose skills involve public speaking and background knowledge in the subject being covered.
  • Speech Writers
    • These writers are hired to write all kinds of presentations given by politicians, company executives, and other people who need to speak before groups or press. Since the way an idea or thought is presented is very important in getting the point across, specialists who write well are sought by people who have a speech to make.