I am Jack Crutchfield, Jr., a senior at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. I consider Washington, D.C., my hometown because I was born here; however, I actually grew up in a nearby suburb, Fort Washington, Maryland.
This summer I have the privilege of working as an Intern in the Office of Public Affairs, but my relationship with the Department of Labor began before I was born. How could that be? Well, my mother was an employee of DOL for 38 years before retiring in March of 2009. In August of 1990, there was an elaborate baby shower (I’ve seen the pictures) two days before my birth. Three years later, I was enrolled in the DOL Child Development Center where I established many DOL friends, and still have fond memories of those times.
Now, 17 years later I am a college senior. For the past two years, I’ve searched for internships throughout the U.S., but during this difficult economic time, it was challenging to obtain one. As a college student, the summer and winter breaks would be the perfect time to have an internship. When I heard that DOL had summer internship opportunities, I was excited at the prospect of actually working here. It was like returning to my alma mater. I was also grateful for my first opportunity to gain this level of experience and how cool is it that DOL turned out to be the agency to afford me the opportunity?
Serving in OPA gives me a chance to make a difference in the lives of working families by helping to publicize the activities of the department. I am helping to ensure that workers are informed about DOL’s programs and services that can improve their opportunities and job conditions.
I have enjoyed interacting with the other interns in my office, and while the assignments have been challenging, more importantly they have been valuable. Among the opportunities and
projects were a visit to the Supreme Court, working with C-Span, visiting the Newseum, participating in live broadcasts, preparing press kits and releases, working at the apprenticeship anniversary celebration on the National Mall, attending formal hearings on Capital Hill, reviewing film footage after the Labor Hall of Fame historic induction of the Memphis Sanitation Workers, and shadowing the audio visual staff.
These are all experiences I will take with me while in class next semester. My college major is Music Business and Technology – a combination major that provides specific expertise, but allows for many career tracks beyond music (e.g., business, engineering, producing, writing/editing, and publishing). I’m set to graduate in December of this year, and plan to attend graduate school for communications. Working in OPA has permitted me to apply my education, provided me with great experience, and expanded my career outlook. I look forward to a continued association with the Office of Public Affairs.
Editor’s Note: The author, Jack Crutchfield is a summer intern in the Office of Public Affairs.