Miami Tech & Startup News

Local organizations announce micro-internships to give students a leg up in the freelance economy

Local organizations announce micro-internships to give students a leg up in the freelance economy

Today, Florida International University’s Honors College, the Human Cloud, and the Shrimp Society are launching a program to give Miami’s top students access to career building work experiences.

Students will have the opportunity to undertake paid ‘micro-internships’ with organizations large and small, from Microsoft to Miami’s own Puroast Coffee. The key difference between traditional internships and micro-internships, according to Human Cloud co-founder Matthew Mattola (pictured above), is that it’s outcomes based.

“Instead of students doing a whole summer, it’s a specific outcome or specific projects,” Mattola told Refresh Miami. He explained that the average micro-internship pays around $350 and takes anywhere from a few days to a week to complete. Micro-internship tasks include projects you might expect, like market research and lead generation, as well as some more out-of-the-box opportunities like creating TikTok marketing collateral.

This collaboration came about when Mattola was introduced to Dr. Juan Carlos Espinosa, Dean and Fellow of FIU’s Honors College. “We weren’t looking to go into education in any way, shape, or form,” said Mattola. “But after being introduced to Dean Espinosa, we realized that FIU was so aligned with the future of work, and that Miami was the right ecosystem. This is exactly aligned with the future that we’re building.”

What is this future? Mattola is on a mission to change the way we think about freelancing. “Freelancing at its core is about control,” he said. “It’s about being able to control the opportunities in your life and not having to be stuck with one company.” Mattola notes that freelancers tend to make above-average wages and have high job satisfaction.

FIU’s Espinosa aligns with Mattola’s vision. He tells his students to be open minded about taking alternative career paths such as freelancing. Crucially, Espinosa notes that students need to develop a different skillset to succeed in post-college life: “In education, people are taught to think in a linear fashion,” he said. However, in reality the world is “polychromatic.”

“You have to be able to tone your senses and your skills and your curiosity and put yourself out there,” said Espinosa. In his estimation, these micro-internships can act as a good foray for students transitioning to full-time work.

Espinosa, a political scientist by trade, underscores that there is still room for the government to create policies that stimulate a more robust freelance economy. But in the meantime, he said that “we have a chance to do better here in Miami.” He continued: “I think efforts like this partnership will move us in that direction.”

This afternoon, FIU is hosting an information session for students interested in taking on a micro-internship (you don’t have to be enrolled in the Honors College to get involved). Learn more and sign up by visiting their Eventbrite page.

Chris Daniels, Founder of The Shrimp Society, will also be in attendance to outline the organization’s new $10,000 scholarship. Mattola underscored how the scholarship is part of the same vision he and Espinosa share: “It’s all about getting students ready for their digital future,” since the scholarship will ultimately help students build their portfolio of freelance work.

Daniels said that the Shrimp Society is “looking for students with an idea or a plan for a Web3 product that they want to develop,” he said. That includes everything from the world of cryptocurrencies to virtual reality to the metaverse. The scholarships will be awarded during a pitch competition early next year.

Chris Daniels, Founder of The Shrimp Society

Interested in taking part? Students can sign up to apply for micro-internships here, and companies can hire micro-interns by visiting here.

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Riley Kaminer