Student & Company Voices: Impacts of Kansas' State-Wide Micro-Internship Program

As part of the Kansas Board of Regents’ “Building a Future” strategic plan, Kansas-based organizations are able to hire college students for fully funded short-term, paid, professional projects. The first Micro-Internship from each organization is even covered up to $500. Recently, students and employers who have already taken advantage of this program gathered to share their experiences. 

Guests:

  • Stephanie Sharp, Owner of VoteSharp/Sharp Connections
  • Deja Coffin, HR Assistant of Sekisui XenoTech, LLC
  • Kayla Zack, Practice Growth Coordinator at Adams Brown
  • Emily Hull, student from University of Kansas
  • Courtney Tinkham, student from Colby Community College / Fort Hayes State University

Read on for a recap of the conversation, or catch the full replay here. 


Student Perspectives:

Students reiterated that the flexibility associated with Micro-Internships played a big role in their ability to take advantage of the program and the opportunities for exploration it offers. These project-based experience, which typically span somewhere between five and 40 hours, are a perfect addition to busy schedules that can't accommodate a traditional internship.

Emily: “I was looking for something project-based to diversify what I was doing....It’s a great way to explore my skills and my interests while not committing to another hefty part-time job.” 

Students also recognized that Micro-Internships gave them a chance to exercise existing skills and develop new ones, using the projects as opportunities to demonstrate their worth.

Courtney: “It’s giving us college students a chance to show you what we have.” 

The benefits recognized by students didn't stop there, as these Micro-Interns have also seen these experiences positively impact the application and interview process for longer-term endeavors. 

Emily: “It’s one of the things on my resume that people gravitate to the most…In interview after interview it’s something employers ask about.”

Company Perspectives:

From companies, one word used often was 'easy'. Throughout the conversation, employers applied it to every aspect of the process: 

Stephanie: “It was really easy for me to post. The process of reviewing and filtering candidates - looking at resumes and portfolios, hiring people, and then even paying for it, was seamless and intuitive... I was thrilled with the process part of it.”

Kayla: “Our experience was really positive - it was easy to use the website and the Micro-Intern was easy to work with and took feedback really well.” 

Deja: “We were so impressed with Emily and so impressed with the Micro-Internship program; especially how easy it is to use.”

Employers also saw the value of using these short-term, low-commitment experiences as an efficient and effective pathway to longer-term hiring.

Stephanie: “I don’t have to bring someone on and find out that it didn’t work. It worked with Courtney and I went back and rehired her because it worked.” - Stephanie Sharp (Sharp Connections)

Deja: “Almost all of our employees that start as a laboratory technician are straight out of college and most of these colleges are local, so the more opportunities we’re able to create through Micro-Internships and the more relationships we make, increases the chance to work with these students beyond their college careers.” - Deja Coffin (SEKISUI XenoTech LLC)

It was also recognized that Micro-Internships are particularly well suited for those projects that need attention and add value to a company, but rarely make it to the top of the to-do list.

Stephanie: “The marketing for my company is the last priority when I’ve got clients calling me and needing things, so it was great that I could farm out this work to a younger person who knows social media trends.” 

Interested in learning more about or possibly participating in Kansas's program? Click here