How can an internship experience be successful in not only providing real world experience but also fostering young and passionate leaders for our future?

O the lovely interns!!

By, Marissa Kitazawa

The Pacific Southwest District is trying to do just that.  This year the JACL Pacific Southwest District celebrates the launch of our brand new internship program: Collegiate Japanese American Internship (CJAI).

CJAI will place eight college students into our four partnering community based organizations: Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Asian Pacific Islanders California Action Committee (APIsCAN), the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and the Japanese American Citizens League – Pacific Southwest District (JACL PSW). Students will have the opportunity to explore important issues affecting the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community in Los Angeles while working on interactive and engaging projects topics ranging from immigration, redistricting, environmental research and higher education. Unlike other internships that only provide work experience, CJAI will ask its participants to engage in reflection and action. Through four mid session retreats, students will learn about leadership development, professional skills, explore identity and important issues affecting the API community. After learning these skills, the students will then have a space to practice and apply what they have learned.

With the emergence and popularity of social media platforms, it has created a space that allows us to play an active role in making our community and sharing its history.  This is a project of interpretation and changing the world. Do you believe that an internship can provide a student with the tools necessary to build leadership in our community?  Do you believe a student has the power to create change? Share your own internship experiences and how can we foster our program for emerging student leaders in our community.

Check our our website for more information.