The Externship. What is It and Why are Companies of All Sizes Launching One?

A low-lift, high-impact way to engage and assess early talent
Tamara Mathias
November 8, 2022
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Students want internships.

Companies want interns.

But the number of students who want internships does not equate to the number of internships available.

The primary reason is that companies simply don’t have the bandwidth to engage thousands of interns and handhold them as they work on real projects. 

The Remote Externship...

is a turnkey solution that gives companies a low-lift, high-impact way to engage and assess early talent. It offers employers a way to engage emerging professionals at scale so they can grow their recruiting pipeline without overburdening team managers.

How Does it Work?

(Great tech, fantastic program management, and a little bit of magic!)

Paragon One collaborates with a host company to distill a real business project into an experiential learning program that students can grasp. Our team builds out training on a high-tech learning platform to equip students with the tools and skills to work on this project and manage the day-to-day needs of the group from start to finish.

This means that in just 2-8 weeks, cohorts of up to 100 students each can upskill and build experience on a real project by working remotely for 10 hours a week, all while receiving mentorship from Paragon One’s program managers. 

Unlike internships, the Externship was designed as a full-service experience optimized for a company’s time. This means that team leaders at partner companies need to commit only one hour a week to reach hundreds of candidates.

That’s game-changing.

Show Me The Numbers!

Remote Externships are fantastic tools for savvy Talent Leads because they’re designed to allow brands to engage more students and more diverse students, who are typically excluded from standard recruiting efforts. 

We’re talking 500X more students, with 80% less employee time than an internship.
At 60% of the cost per student.

With more students, companies can pick the best candidates to hire from a much larger, more competitive talent pool and evaluate them entirely on merit.

Because Paragon One does the heavy lifting, employers can receive thorough assessments of performance on real projects, elevate top performers to internships or full-time roles and even meet DEI goals in an impactful way that goes way beyond a one-day conference or a case study event!

And nothing helps a student become more employable than having real work experience on their resume. 

Our data shows that 70% of our externs are hired by corporations within 12 months of completing their program!

Tell me more about how this helps with DEI.

The Remote Externship Democratizes Access to Career Opportunities

Thanks to Paragon One’s Remote Externships, thousands of student careers have been impacted to date.

On average, women represent 57% of each student cohort. Over half of all HBCUs in America now count Paragon One externs as alumni. And in select externship programs, over 90% of candidates participating came from underrepresented communities. 

Doing Inclusion Right

Because all our programs are designed to be flexible and accessible, students can participate all through the year, even during term time, whether they live in a small town, study at a community college, or are based abroad.

That’s powerful. 

Historically, internships have always been more accessible to students at big schools with large campus fairs that attract Fortune 1000 brands. Those who study in expensive cities like New York or San Francisco are also typically at an advantage when securing jobs at major Wall Street firms or Silicon Valley brands. And the greatest privilege of all – tapping into alumni networks or friends and family who can push a resume to the top of a pile – is usually reserved for those whose circumstances allow for such connections. A first-generation college-goer or an international student at a smaller school often lacks the networking reach of their more privileged peers.

The thing is, companies do care about diversity and inclusion. They’d love to attract candidates from non-target schools. They don’t have the time or budget to make career opportunities available at the scale students want them. With limited resources, it’s natural that companies optimize recruiting efforts in “tried and tested” ways. If “target schools” are where they’ve hired quality candidates for decades, then that’s where they’ll continue to invest. 

Now, there’s another option.

Paragon One works with partner companies to identify goals for improving the diversity of their organizations and leverages a large, global network encompassing over 500 universities to attract applications to Remote Externships.

What about the quality of work output?

The quality of internship programs at many companies is notoriously reliant on the coaching capabilities and availability of individual managers assigned to oversee interns. On the other hand, Paragon One’s Remote Externships are built for large cohorts. By design, they create opportunities for students to ask questions, receive coaching and feedback and aim to ensure all “externs” receive a meaningful experience of uniform quality. Every Externship experience is broken down into modules that provide discrete and continuous learning opportunities for students.

Thanks to a rigorous, tech-enabled selection process, Paragon One is able to recruit student cohorts that are motivated and engaged to deliver the best results during their program. And the numbers show it.

On average, Remote Externships have a completion rate of 80%, far exceeding the 13% average for online courses that candidates otherwise turn to to upskill.

And team leads at partner companies are seeing results.

On average, leadership at firms that have run Remote Externships have rated the quality of student output across Product Innovation Strategy projects a 9.5/10.

Does your team have a project you’d like to turn into a Remote Externship?

Let’s talk.

Ready to get started?

Learn how externships can help your business and students prosper.
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