Insight

Paragon One Teams Up with HP to Support Diverse Student Careers Through Flexible “Remote Externships”

We, at Paragon One, turn interesting business projects into flexible Remote Externships that enable students to build their resumes by partnering with top tech companies. To expand their effort, HP Tech Ventures launched a remote externship with Paragon One. HP Tech Ventures has hosted almost 200 students since 2020 who researched and analyzed promising startups in transformative technologies.

Tamara Mathias
February 2, 2022

HP teamed up with Paragon One to democratize access to professional experiences. They wanted to assure that underserved and underrepresented students, who traditionally lack access to internship programs, can build exposure to leading brands and industries.

We, at Paragon One turn interesting business projects into flexible Remote Externships that enable students to build their resumes during the year and on their schedules by partnering with top tech companies. To expand their effort, HP Tech Ventures launched a remote externship with Paragon One. HP Tech Ventures has hosted almost 200 students since 2020 who researched and analyzed promising startups in transformative technologies. The cohorts were more geographically diverse than in-person arrangements would have allowed.

Here's what our externs feel about this experience


“Internships have traditionally been relied upon to bridge the divide between education and the workforce for students. However, internships historically lack the flexibility and accessibility needed to reach many students from underserved backgrounds. Managers at companies just don’t have the bandwidth to support large groups of students, yet internships are relied upon as the de facto solution to bridge the employability gap while students are in college. In addition, recruiters who have limited resources and time end up visiting the same large campuses every year, so not all students have equal access to the best professional experiences. Worse still, our education system prioritizes test-taking and grades, so students graduate with great report cards, but lack the practical skills and experience that employers want to see.” - Matt Wilkerson, co-founder and CEO of Paragon One


Remote Externships solve these problems because they are designed to be 6 to 8-week educational alternatives to internships that create access for students and scale effortlessly for companies.

Paragon One works behind the scenes with enterprise partners to identify a project that students can work on remotely for just 10 hours a week and then entirely handles training development, recruiting, mentoring, assessing, and credentialing students. This allows enterprise partners to devote just 1 hour a week to virtual meetings while still giving students a structured, scaffolded educational experience that teaches them employable skills, boosts their resumes, and allows them to network.

“Externships are a great way for students to get hands-on experience with the business or industry they’re pursuing and a great way for companies to connect with future employees,” says Mitchell Weinstock, Partner at HP Tech Ventures. “The Paragon program allows us to spend more time working directly with students instead of managing logistics, which means more meaningful experiences for students and a much smoother experience for us.”

By researching startup companies and learning about what VCs look for, our students helped HP define tomorrow’s world and experiences to create an ecosystem of innovation and reinvention.

Dawit Teshome, a recent Finance graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and participant of the HP Tech Ventures Externship program, explains, “My externship with HP was an example of how a single experience can change the course of a career. I come from a non-target school, so it was hard for me to break into the business world and even get people to call me back for an interview. The externship added a lot of credibility to my candidacy. I felt very accomplished and motivated emotionally. I started to see how this was a catalyst in terms of my growth.”

Because the projects are hosted remotely on Paragon One’s Externship platform and supported by mentorship and training, students from any background and experience level have a chance to try out projects in fields like data analytics, marketing, finance, and product strategy.

“Through the Remote Externship with Paragon One, we saw a truly diverse group of students come together to experience careers in our industry,” says Angelo Del Prioire, partner at HP Tech Ventures. “Through programs like this, we are proud to be paving the way for a transformation in the future of recruiting and inclusive, equitable talent assessment.”

For companies looking to create a strong employer brand, hiring young talent from underrepresented backgrounds is the first of many steps.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tamara Mathias

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