Investing in (remote) internships
How remote internships are providing new opportunities, and why we didn’t cancel ours.
Lindsay Siegel, Director of Impact @ Company. Aug 12, 2020
As our city and country grapple with the layers of complexity that we face in 2020, a well-designed internship program takes on added importance. Students will likely face a new set of challenges as they graduate into a weakened economy, and internships and apprenticeships provide a necessary access point to help them land on their feet. Startups, too, are caught in a moment of extreme stress as they fight for their own survival, and more hands on deck can help alleviate the burden.
Since 2017, we’ve partnered with CUNY (The City University of New York), the largest urban university system in the United States, to create a 2-month paid summer internship program that provides dozens of students with the opening to work in the tech sector. Our partnership with CUNY was born out of a commitment to build a more equitable future for our city by providing on-ramps for public university students who are too often overlooked by our industry, despite the fact that their talent and drive matches, if not exceeds, the talent found at private colleges.
Company is working to create a new model for the tech sector by building a community of startups that not only introduce game-changing technology and products to better our lives, but also build and scale with intention. Our Internship Program connects with our North Star Program, an initiative that helps build leadership capacity in founders so that they clearly articulate and operationalize their vision, ethics, values, and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
We offer tools that help our managers think about recruiting from outside of their network, while also providing top-level talent through our CUNY and NYC Tech Talent Pipeline-partnered internships. As a result, founders see the lessons of inclusion in real-time as their intentions are brought to life.
In addition to the valuable work experience of joining a startup team, our paid internship program provides a cohort experience that includes weekly meetings with a dedicated mentor, professional development training, and organized networking events.
Interns not only gain invaluable hands-on experience working directly for startups, but they are also given the chance to establish network connections within New York’s tech sector: an industry that has historically underrepresented first-generation college students, who make up 40% of CUNY’s student body. 47% of our interns this summer are first-generation college students, 100% of whom call New York home. The diversity of our cohort reflects that which is celebrated at CUNY and across NYC: 50% of our interns identify broadly as Asian, Latinx, or Black, and 62% are women/nonbinary.
The positive outcomes we witness as a result of the internship program extend beyond our interns’ experiences. Startups and founders benefit from extra hands throughout the summer, and an internship can deeply influence the trajectory of a young person’s career. Startups also benefit from the perspectives they gain by working with someone who otherwise may not have been “in network” and part of their typical recruiting process.
It has been so rewarding to see our interns develop over the summer and our companies thrive, and we’re looking forward to their continued success.
If you’re a company or entrepreneur interested in joining Company, be on the lookout for our upcoming GCT 2021 applications.