New micro-internship program to allow UNC students a more flexible professional experience

Starting this fall, University Career Services is launching the UCS Micro-Internship Program, which partners with various employers who work with UNC to provide short-term internships for students who want to take the next steps to launch their careers. .

Micro-internships are paid professional projects that students can apply to explore different career paths and gain experience. They offer students the opportunity to work with companies from different sectors, regardless of their specialization.

These micro-internships are open to all UNC students. However, students who have no career-aligned work experience, belong to a “special student population” at UNC, or participate in a Center for Student Success program will be given priority.

UCS has defined these “special student populations” as historically marginalized students, underserved adult students, and target student populations.

The University has partnered with Parker Dewey for this program, which is a “mission-driven organization dedicated to providing equitable access to professional opportunities,” according to its website.

While internships are often limited by the number of opportunities and are less flexible, Kelsey Durham, UCS associate director for internships and experiential learning, said micro-internships are easily accessible and do not have a long application process.

Students can use micro-internships as a way to explore careers and corporate roles they might not otherwise have considered.

“If you find a micro-internship that matches skills you really want to solidify, or a certain major you have, or passions you have, or a company you really want to work with, whatever she be, you put your foot in the door,” Durham explained.

Companies of all sizes and in all sectors use micro-internships. According to the UCS website, they prioritize companies that have projects in the areas of business analytics and data, strategy and consulting, project management, digital marketing, sales and business development, customer service, and research and design.

UCS partners with employers who offer micro-internship projects of 20 to 40 hours. 20-hour projects will cost businesses $500, while 40-hour projects will cost them $1,000. According to the Parker Dewey website, 90% of this money will go directly to students.

UCS uses the “Four Steps to Professional Success” model to help guide students on their journey into the professional world. The first stage is self-awareness, followed by career exploration, experiential learning and high-impact experiences and finally, self-marketing and professional branding.

“It’s a high-impact experience, you connect with an employer and then it leads right into step four, which is self-marketing and personal branding,” Durham said. “That is, ultimately, our goal in career services.”

Durham also noted that micro-internships are a great opportunity for international students because students don’t need to be US citizens to participate.

Yonas Kemal, a junior studying business and public policy at UNC, completed three remote micro-internships based in different parts of the country.

One was an educational consulting company in New York, another a music production company in Los Angeles, and the other was in sales and marketing software.

“It’s a very unique, fun, and extremely impactful way to gain work experience and ultimately help pay the rent,” Kemal said.

Kemal also said that micro-internships allow students to expand their knowledge base and network.

Kristin Schrader, director of partnerships at Parker Dewey, said the organization is excited to deepen its partnership with UNC.

“Thanks to the incredible leadership and support of UNC Career Services, and in particular Acting Director Roderick Lewis, we are thrilled to implement one of the most thoughtful and strategic micro-internship programs we have ever had. have seen from one of our more than 500 university partners,” Schrader said in an emailed statement.

Schrader added that the micro-internship program will provide more accessible and paid professional development opportunities for UNC students.

“It’s one of the best experiences any student can have,” Durham said.

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Ryan H. Bowman