Intern: John Robles
Major: Economics and Political Science
Supervisor: Andrea Arenas, Communications and Policy Coordinator
Interviewer: Ms. Arenas, can you tell us your position at the Labor Counsel for Latin American Advancement and what your organization does?
Ms. Arenas: I am the communications and policy coordinator. Our organization is one of the Constituency Groups of the AFL-CIO (The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization). We have members who are mostly Latinos and immigrant workers who are members of unions. Our objective is to push forward legislation and policies that offer worker protection for Latino and immigrant workers. We also have other projects that focus on Latina women and pushing for Latina women to have equal pay. Our programs are based in helping the Latino and immigrant community in having a better way of life in the United States, as well as immigration reform.
Interviewer: John, what kind of work do you participate in as an intern here?
John: There’s actually quite a broad range of tasks I have here. I research policy, contact speakers, get [their] information down and organize events — a lot goes towards getting the conference ready. Every day, I spend about twenty minutes online researching news. From there, I go on to my other responsibilities. Throughout the day we might be asked to do other tasks.
Interviewer: Ms. Arenas, what are your roles and responsibilities as communications and policy coordinator?
Ms. Arenas: We try to stay very relevant on social media so every day we make a post. We try to find a relevant article and write a caption to share on our social media outlets. We start the day like that. I also write media statements, press releases and schedule media and interviews for our executive director. I’m also in charge of filming when there are protests, and editing video. We’re always looking for topics that affect the Latino and immigrant community.
Interviewer: John, what parts of the job have been the most challenging and rewarding so far?
John: The most challenging part was trying to contact presidential candidates, because they’re always busy campaigning. But one was confirmed so that was the most rewarding. All of our interns are getting information for our speakers, and making sure the speakers have everything they need.
Interviewer: Ms. Arenas, what qualities and skills do you look for in prospective interns?
Ms. Arenas: We like people who are extremely proactive, who will try to take a hit at whatever comes to them. [We like] people who have a good attitude about tasks — sometimes there’s a lot of research because we do publish books, and sometimes that research can be exhausting — so we like a good attitude, a sense of responsibility, and the ability to meet deadlines. We do like interns to be bilingual, but we’re had interns in the past who weren’t and did great. In the communications department we come up with a lot of posters and catchy phrases, so creativity is also an asset when it comes to an intern.
Interviewer: John, what are some skills you’ve found to be the most important during your time here?
John: Researching, communicating, organizing, planning and people skills as well. Generally, you need to be well-rounded. You can be good at researching, but you should also be good at communication and organization so you don’t fall back.