Student Success: Disability, Accessibility, and Micro-Internships

    Only 18% of persons with disabilities are employed in any capacity, putting more and more focus on accessibility in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic saw the highest disability unemployment rate in more than seven years, setting back the timeline by nearly 2%. Few opportunities and fewer networking functions severely limit those with greater accessibility needs, pushing them out of the traditional job market. College graduate Sebastian Fulmer experienced this reality firsthand when he graduated college with a disability just as the pandemic ramped up. 

    “There are lots of other young adults suffering from disabilities, and just trying to figure things out,” he says.

    Sebastian completed school with two majors in a four-and-a-half-year program: mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering. After developing a disability in his last semester, Sebastian realized that gig work might be his only option of finding work during the quarantine period.

    “I realized that I could only work from home at the same time everything else suddenly started happening at home,” he says.

    Sebastian knew that finding a job in the midst of a pandemic would be difficult. To make additional compensation while hunting for jobs, he decided to look for remote freelance work. But side gigs like Instacart and DoorDash were becoming harder and harder to do, particularly in light of his disability. “I was reaching a point where I couldn't keep doing the side gigs that were making me money, but I wasn’t confident enough to try working remotely because I didn't think I could handle it.”

    And that’s when Sebastian was introduced to Parker Dewey.

    “I heard about [Parker Dewey] from a friend I went to high school with. I was just chatting with her about my career struggles. At the time, I was mostly doing gig delivery jobs. She said, ‘You can try Parker Dewey; see what you can find there.’ This was the most helpful advice I’ve gotten in my life.”

    Sebastian was excited to try out gig work for the first time. It was fully remote, fully paid, and 100% within his professional skill base. Best of all, it was extremely accessible.

    “That’s mostly why I got into Parker Dewey,” Sebastian says. “I wanted to try out working remotely without the months and months long process of getting a job, and then seeing how I’d handle it.”

    Not only was Sebastian able to handle his work with flying colors, but he even established an LLC to drive his career to new heights.


    Getting started with Micro-Internships

    Sebastian has worked with over eight different companies since the beginning of COVID-19, and has built skills, earned money, and created connections through Parker Dewey. Although he primarily focuses on market research and data, he also has experience in the analytics and recruiting sphere. He’s excited to receive additional mentorship from company employees, allowing for one-on-one training and skill development.

    “I would not have had a chance to make those relationships without the help of Parker Dewey,” Sebastian says.

    Sebastian was also able to use his existing skill set in a whole new way. 

    “I’ve definitely made a lot of professional contacts,” Sebastian says. “I’m working with software I’m familiar with, but on a totally different scale. It was super great to be given a platform where I could try things out.”

    Today, Sebastian is working more than full-time on gig work alone. Armed with his very own LLC, he hopes to continue building his skills and scaling his business over time.

    “I’m reaching the point where I’ve been out of school for a while, and I’ve established lots of outside contacts,” he says.

    In participating in Micro-Internships, Sebastian didn’t just succeed in working remotely—he forged an accessible career path that would open doors to future opportunities.


    How Micro-Internships create accessible opportunities

    With their online function, simple structure, and bite-sized projects, Micro-Internships create accessibility for students who may be barred from traditional opportunities. Sebastian believes that Parker Dewey is far more efficient at providing accessibility than conventional job applications. “I think I would be in a very different life situation if I hadn’t received that advice to sign up for Parker Dewey,” he remarked. 

    Sebastian also found that the smaller structure of a Micro-Internship helped to nurture his confidence in a stress-free way.

    “I liked that it was bite-sized,” he laughs. “It was a really safe way to test my comfort zone.”

    Above all else, Sebastian believes that Micro-Internships are a great way to create lasting relationships with potential employers.

    “I’ve had projects that are very hands-off, then projects where I’m in lots of conference calls,” he says. “This kind of communication is really important for career development.”

    With a new business, new clients, and a new career path, Sebastian is an ambassador for Micro-Internships of all kinds.

    “I definitely would recommend Parker Dewey to other people. I already have,” he says. “It’s a very safe and well-set-up site.”

    Interested in learning more about how Micro-Internships can create accessible opportunities at your company? Schedule time with us.