One of the many casualties of the 2020 CoVid-19 pandemic has been the summer internship. What had been a valuable tool for college students to get their foot in the doors of well-paying and meaningful jobs, and for employers to find and vet new talent – the 10-week internship – has become nearly impossible to implement in the age of social distancing and working from home.
As with so many other aspects of our lives, CoVid-19 might have only exposed the existing flaws in the current internship methodology. That’s what Jeffrey Moss, the CEO of Parker Dewey, thought when he founded the company in 2015. Parker Dewey pioneered the concept of what they call “micro-internships,” which are 5- to 40-hour assignments posted by companies that are open for college students and recent graduates (“Career Launchers,” in the Parker Dewey nomenclature). We at the Career Center recently heard about the program and listened to an interview with Moss, and have compiled a list of pros and cons to Parker Dewey and the micro-internship framework.
A note: The East Baton Rouge Library Career Center and its employees are in no way affiliated with Parker Dewey. We’re posting this to help our college student and recent graduate patrons who might be interested in working with Parker Dewey.
You get paid!
The cliché about college internships is that it’s a lot of running around, getting coffee and dry-cleaning, and not getting paid for it – you’re supposed to be grateful for getting your foot in the door. Parker Dewey gets rid of that – their business model is to act as a contractor for their client companies, hiring out for jobs that their clients don’t have the time or resources to do with their own employees. So they charge a fee to their clients, skim a percentage off the top, and pass the rest on to the workers – what they call “Career Launchers.”
You can try out different kinds of jobs.
In all the press we’ve read surrounding Parker Dewey – including the interview we sat in on – Moss relates the story of one of the college students working for him who compared micro-internships to dating. Doing short-term work – each job is between five and forty hours – for a multitude of different companies enables students, who are just starting their professional lives, to “play the field” of different industries, different roles, and different careers before deciding where they want to spend the bulk of their careers.
Parker Dewey is pretty hands-off after facilitating the meeting.
Even though student workers are paid by, and technically employees of, Parker Dewey, Moss said that they like to stay as hands-off as possible after giving the employer and worker each other’s contact information. If you work for a company and they want to hire you for something else afterward, or even ask you to join them full-time, they don’t have to go through Parker Dewey to do it – which is nice, especially when a lot of other online facilitating companies like Uber, Rover, etc., will kick users off if they continue their relationship outside their platforms.
It’s only open to college students and recent graduates.
The limitation to college students and graduates is pretty typical for internships, but it’s still a limiting factor here. Traditional internships also have technical reasons why they’re only open to students, such as their scheduling and lack of pay, but these micro-internships don’t share those limitations. In this light, limiting the hiring pool to just students and recent graduates seems artificial – there are plenty of older people or non-college-graduates who want to try a new career, or to make ends meet between jobs, and they’d benefit from micro-internships too. Maybe Parker Dewey is trying to keep the applicant pool small and manageable.
You are working for parker dewey, not the actual company.
When you enter your work at the micro-internships on your resume, you’ll need to use Parker Dewey’s name as the employer, since they’re technically who you worked for. In the interview with Jeffrey Moss we watched, he said you’re welcome to note the types of projects you did, and usually you can mention the companies you worked with there. But sometimes, you have to keep that secret too – so a micro-internship might not be as good for padding out your resume as a traditional internship can be.
So far as we can tell, Parker Dewey is the only company really in the micro-internship space.
While Parker Dewey seems like a good company that is “mission-focused” (Moss said that multiple times in his interview!) in providing students with quality internships, it would be good if they had some competition in the space. The only other one we could really find was something called Riipen, which seems more focused on providing a pipeline for schools – meaning it’s only available for students at universities who subscribe to their service. Parker Dewey, on the other hand, is open for anyone to use – we were even able to create an account, although we probably won’t get any micro-internships.
If you have worked with Parker Dewey before, or know of another micro-internship company, let us know!
Written by Case Duckworth