The UCI ANTrepreneur Center has partnered with the CEO Leadership Alliance of Orange County (CLAOC), the UCI Office of Data and Information Technology, and Parker Dewey to launch and grow an innovative Micro-Internship program for UCI students and recent UCI alumni. This collaboration provides short-term, paid project opportunities with leading Orange County companies and startups to build real-world skills and expand professional networks.
About the ANTrepreneur Center and the Self-Starter Micro-Internship Program
The UCI ANTrepreneur Center aims to instill an entrepreneurial spirit and mindset in students across all sixteen student majors. Through experiential programs, mentorship, competitions, and networking events, the Center empowers students to think creatively, take initiative, and turn ideas into real impact. As part of this mission, the ANTrepreneur Center rolled out their popular Self-Starter Micro-Internship program in August of 2022. Mirroring the dynamic gig economy, these Micro-Internships allow students to take on short-term paid projects that provide hands-on experience and new skills.
“Our goal is to give students opportunities to build their expertise and expand their professional network through meaningful Micro-Internship experiences,” said Ryan Foland, Director of the ANTrepreneur Center. “A big part of the program’s success is partnering with other key organizations at UCI and in the community. The result is an innovative way for students and recent alumni to work on real-world projects with some of the top companies in Orange County.”
Since the launch of the program, over 1,300 UCI students and alumni have joined the Center’s Micro-Internship platform. To date, the program boasts 80 completed or in-progress Micro-Internships, totaling $39,158.25 earned by UCI students and alumni. The ANTrepreneur Center and its collaborators are thrilled with the engagement so far and aim to expand opportunities for students.
Exit surveys administered after completing projects show that students experience overwhelmingly positive outcomes from participating in the Micro-Internship program. For instance, students reported the following results:
- Becoming more aware of a company they weren’t previously familiar with
- Learning about types of roles/opportunities that they didn’t previously associate with the company they worked with
- Gaining experience both directly and not directly related to their majors
- Cinfirming which fields/industries they’d be interested in working in
- Gaining experience for their resumes that demonstrates their skills
- Gaining new skills for their resumes
- Making new professional contacts through their project managers
- Turning their Micro-Internship experience into another opportunity (ie, a traditional internship or part/full-time employment)
How Micro-Internships Work
Micro-Internships are facilitated on Parker Dewey’s online platform that connects students and recent graduates with short-term, paid projects from leading employers. Parker Dewey serves as the formal employer of record, streamlining paperwork and taxes for participating organizations. Interested students and alumni can create a profile on the platform that describes their skills, interests, and availability. They can then browse and apply for posted Micro-Internships that align with their goals and schedule. Companies are encouraged to host their projects virtually whenever possible to ensure accessibility, but projects may be conducted in-person or following a hybrid model.
Common examples of Micro-Internship projects include: market research, social media support, data analysis, content creation, project management, video editing, cyber security, and more. All Micro-Internships are paid opportunities that offer competitive wages for 10 hours to up to 120 hours of work.
Investing in the Development of Local Talent
The UCI Office of Data and Information Technology, under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Tom Andriola, helped make early funding available to help the local business community recognize the value of these Micro-Internship opportunities. With a donation of $10,000, the office funded data and technology Micro-Internships to encourage companies to try out the program and see how it worked.
Speaking on his office’s support, Vice Chancellor Andriola explained:
“For CLAOC member companies and our organization, one of the largest employers in Orange County, the Micro-Internship program is a great way to connect with emerging talent. This is especially true for students who have grown up with current and future technologies. We’ve found them excellent to add into existing efforts or give their own projects. For students, it provides invaluable real-world experience and networking opportunities right here in Orange County.”
“UCI’s commitment to providing experiential learning opportunities is a win-win for students and local employers alike,” added Jeffrey Moss, Founder/CEO of Parker Dewey. “We’re proud to partner with the ANTrepreneur Center in ensuring every student has equitable access to paid professional opportunities, and we are even more excited to see these short-term projects turn into lifelong careers.”
Finally, Franciska Castillo, Director of Talent Strategies and University Relations at CLAOC, said:
“We appreciate Parker Dewey’s commitment to creating pathways for early-career professionals in partnership with the ANTrepreneur Center and the Office of Data and Information Technology. This program aligns with our member companies values of fostering growth and development within the workforce, while building strong local talent pipelines in Orange County. We see this partnership as a way to facilitate meaningful connections between employers and students in a flexible, mutually beneficial way.”
How to Get Involved in the Micro-Internship Program
If you are a UCI student or recent graduate, visit the UCI ANTrepreneur Center’s Micro-Internships portal to create your profile today and start applying to Micro-Internships that fit your skills and interests.
CLAOC member companies can host Micro-Interns for data and technology projects at no cost. If you are interested in learning more, contact Franciska Castillo at email@example.com to get involved.
Companies outside of CLAOC that would like to participate in the Micro-Internships program can visit the UCI ANTrepreneur Center’s Micro-Internships portal to post their own project opportunities for motivated UCI talent.
For more information about the UCI ANTrepreneur Center, including programming, speaker series, Micro-Internships, funding, and more, visit our website. You can also learn more about our valuable collaborations with Blackstone LaunchPad, Tech Coast Angels, Tech Coast Venture Network, OC Startup Council, SoCal Celebrates Entrepreneurship, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Threads.