For most college students approaching graduation, anxiety begins to creep in as they worry about how and where they will find that first post-grad job. It’s a daunting time for sure, but a Chicago startup wants to help ease that process, for both students and employers.
ParkerDewey, founded in 2015 by Jeffrey Moss, is a platform that helps match college students and recent graduates with “micro-internships,” or in other words, short-term, paid, professional projects from companies looking for fresh talent.
“We are trying to improve the college-to-career transition process,” Moss said. “We believe that the current model is just fundamentally broken. For college students, if they don’t have the right academic pedigree, they didn’t go to the right school, have the right GPA, have the right family connections, it’s really hard to get their foot in the door at companies.”
ParkerDewey doesn’t list any full-time or part-time internships, jobs or opportunities, but only project-based ones that pay a stipend. ParkerDewey has partnered with more than 20 institutions, like the University of Illinois, the Illinois Institute of Technology and Purdue University. And companies who have listed projects on the site range from business development projects at ParkWhiz to fundraising for Girl Scouts. Other companies that have found talent on the site include Microsoft, Dell and Equity Residential.
The average project can take anywhere from five to 40 hours to complete and is due one week to a month after kickoff, Moss said. Average stipends range from $200-600.
“[Students] can work on these projects while they’re taking classes, in school or have a job,” Moss said. “For companies, it’s obviously a great way to get some work done, but more importantly, to identify and evaluate potential job candidates in a very authentic setting.”
Moss wouldn’t disclose exact user numbers, but said thousands of opportunities have been listed on the platform since ParkerDewey launched, and that tens of thousands of talent seeker profiles are living on the site right now.
ParkerDewey is designed for college students and recent grads, but Moss said anyone of any age and career level can join the platform. It is free to use for both those seeking opportunities and the companies posting them, but ParkerDewey keeps 10 percent of each projects’ stipend.
ParkerDewey employs less than 10 people right now in their Loop offices and doesn’t have any outside capital.