Starting from Scratch

    With the student debt crisis at the forefront of national news, the prospect of significant loans can be particularly stressful for today’s college students. For first-generation students in particular, who may have been exposed to fewer career options, and consequently may be less sure of their career paths, the proposed debt can be especially daunting. This is why it’s crucial to remember the important role that community colleges, like McHenry County College (MCC), play in our society - allowing students the opportunity to explore and begin building their careers in an affordable way. Thanks to MCC’s partnership with Parker Dewey, they’re also highlighting opportunities for students like first-generation student Rodney Katushabe to explore via real-world, paid, professional projects.

    The Appeal of Micro-Internships

    Rodney's journey began when a coach at MCC introduced him to the concept of Micro-Internships. Intrigued by the idea of gaining real-world experience remotely, Rodney was drawn to the flexibility it offered – allowing him to work on his terms, at his pace, while meeting deadlines. It was an ideal fit for someone who preferred working in small, manageable chunks.


    Perseverance Paid Off

    Although it’s much simpler and faster to apply to Micro-Internships than traditional internships or full-time roles, MCC staff made sure Rodney knew that - just like a traditional internship search - Career Launchers often submit multiple high-quality Micro-Internship applications before being selected. Thanks to this encouragement and Rodney’s resulting perseverance, the Micro-Internship Rodney ended up securing (Accounts Payable Research) was exactly the type of experience he had been looking for.

    Rodney particularly appreciated that the experience was not only manageable in terms of his schedule, but that his supervisor also made sure he had sufficient opportunities to ask questions and get support.

    “The supervisor was really, really nice and approachable, and there was a lot of instruction before starting…  It was a lot of work, but very much doable. It was a great experience overall."


    As a first-generation community college student, Rodney also felt that this was an accessible way to launch his professional business career. 

    "I had had a couple of jobs at [a retail store] and a mortgage company, but this was my first experience in the accounting line of business.”


    His advice to fellow students echoes the persistence that was necessary before Rodney was selected for his Micro-Internship project.

    "The biggest advice is to keep applying! It was disappointing when I didn’t hear back from any of those first applications. Then I was encouraged by the coach at McHenry to continue applying and finally got one."



    Building Skills for the Future

    Rodney's Micro-Internship wasn't just about completing tasks; it also exposed him to potential career options, allowed him to build professional skills, and prompted him to reflect on his career goals. 

    "I wanted to learn something about accounting or something to do with business, and I did. This helped me decide if this is actually a career path that I wanted to take." 


    With his eye on a career in accounting and business, Rodney also embraced the challenges presented by the Accounts Payable Research project, in which Rodney supported an information services platform preparing to transition their accounts payable procedures to a new online process. This endeavor involved verifying information for hundreds of the platform's clients, including reaching out to those who had incomplete client profiles in the current system. Rodney appreciated seeing what went into such a transition, and recognized how this practice was setting him up for future success.

    During the Micro-Internship, I had to make a lot of calls… That wasn’t something I wasn’t comfortable with in the beginning… but the more I did it, the more it felt normal.”


    McHenry County College and Parker Dewey's collaboration paved the way for Rodney to turn ambition into achievement, offering a model for other students in need of a launch pad for their careers.


    ​​Are you on the lookout for your next great hire, but are struggling to fit community college visits into your recruiting schedule? Post a Micro-Internship today, or join us at our next informational webinar for a demo.