Tracy Keogh, chief human resources officer at HP, quickly realized that the remote nature of virtual internships was a feature, not a bug. “While other companies were cancelling internships, we were thinking about how we could get more people involved,” she says, and created HP Summer Scholars, a pilot experience that will help students develop business and professional skills virtually. “I marshalled my team and within a couple of weeks we had a curriculum, teachers, and the head of every division involved,” Keogh says.
Select students with a year or more of college dedicate 12 hours a week for six weeks with each devoted to a different discipline at HP, ranging from 3D printing to gaming. The program includes resume-building classes and interview role-playing, and ends with a certification as an “HP Summer Scholar” that will stand out on any student CV.
“It just goes to show that this is a deep unmet need,” Keogh says. If it ends up having a positive impact, HP may expand the program next summer.
Finding new opportunities, creatively
Milyon Trulove, VP and dean of admission and financial aid at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, says internships and similar experience on an application tells him a lot about a potential student. “Schools evaluate activities and internships as a way to understand how you live out your values, your interests and turn them into something meaningful,” he says.
Do as Bellamy Richardson did, and get on Handshake: it lists 500 companies hiring students right now for remote jobs. Ask your school’s Career Development Office for live leads. Log on to ParkerDewey.com to find a “micro-internship,” a project that takes five to 40 hours in concert with a short-term, professional assignment. Sign up to be a Covid-19 Business Fellow, an initiative started by Alex Littleton and Walker Post, two recent graduates who hatched the idea over Zoom drinks as they commiserated over their friends’ lack of opportunities this summer. “The idea is to give small businesses help in areas where they lack expertise, like web marketing and social media, which is also what students are so good at,” says 23-year-old Littleton. “It’s a win-win.” They have received over 150 applications for both mentors and fellows so far and by the end of next month they hope to have 75 internships and 100 mentors from organizations large and small.
Reed College’s Trulove notes that admissions officers, as well as company hiring managers, already recognize that a typical internship is different from what it was even a few months ago. “If I saw someone taking advantage of these unique opportunities, that tells me they are innovative, a great lateral thinker, and creative in finding ways to apply theory despite really difficult circumstances.”
How employers are reimagining what it means to go to work.