Building A Talent Pipeline In Miami Through Internships

Last week I was invited by Talent Development Network (TDN) to speak on a panel about internships and building a better talent pipeline in Miami. Over the last 4 years, I’ve observed Miami as its tech scene has grown and during my time matriculating from High School through College doing paid internships I’ve seen a lot of talented professionals come and go. A part of this panel was discussing retaining and attracting talent. Here are some of the questions I was asked and my thoughts in general from the talent perspective.

What are some growth hacks for landing an internship?image (3)Source: LinkedIn Data

LinkedIn is a great place to start and they recently made a post on things you need to know to land internships. Here is a link to browse the 17,000 interning openings they have listed. The chart above highlights some of the industries that hire interns and if you observe it you can see that Accounting is leading while Software rank 4th, 6th, and 7th on the list. In general, LinkedIn is a good tool to use because that’s where most high income earning professionals are. According to Pew Research, 50% of the people on LinkedIn have degrees. 

In my opinion, it is not just about setting up a LinkedIn account but also about using it properly to build your network. In Miami, a good place to learn about the scene is through Mentor Day’s Startup guide. You may not want to work with a tech startup, but the list highlights some community channel (e.g Slack, Meetup, Shared Spaces) that I consider important to start building a solid network here in Miami. In this sense, your network is your net worth if you want to reach that paid offer.

Tip:  It also never hurts to be on time, follow-up, and be consistent.

What benefits do you want from a company?

Culture is not just what people say.  Most employers know from hundreds of case studies that millennials want flexible work hours, cash bonuses, and prefer to be in roles where they can work in different positions. Many of these perks resonate with me and I believe it helps when trying to recruit.

Here is something not mentioned enough. Even interns, want to be respected and valued. A good example is my co-worker who is a full-stack web developer. He started off as an intern and many of the other developers have more experience than him. He is still able to propose projects and just the other day got approval and even support to work on an automated build for reducing a tedious task from hours to an hour.

Having a culture that accepts winning ideas and respects and values its employees is important for me. Similarly, being on stand up calls where your team acknowledges the contribution and credits each team member is also refreshing to see in any organization.  For me, it’s more than just perks that I’d like from a company. A good company culture is important especially one that accepts people regardless of gender, ethnicity or background.

How can Talent Development Network do better?

image (4)Source: College Scorecard

So if we look at the pipeline TDN is brewing here in Miami they have 6 College/University partners. If we look at the graduation rates and undergraduate student body numbers we can see that collectively in 4 years about 72,424 students will be searching for jobs in the market. If I could say one-way TDN could improve my suggestion would be to partner with shared workspaces and introduce young professionals to the future of work.

College campuses are great places to interact with students and professors. Shared spaces are great places to interact with professionals and employers. The only con to this is these spaces tend to have early stage organizations. Some students may be aiming for corporate America and for them I still believe working in a space with different types of working professional is beneficial.
mapofsharedspacesA map of Miami’s Spaces via Refresh Miami’s Directory

Above is a map of some shared workspaces here in Miami. One way I believe TDN could do better is by using these spaces as a point for bringing together interns for paid work. A cool idea would be using shared spaces to have groups of interns work in the same environment with a cluster of startups. You could then get their feedback to understand how to optimize the way you match or connect other students in the future.

Building a network for developing talent and bringing them into the job market is an incredibly hard thing to do. I like that TDN focuses on paid internships over just any internships that to me is what makes the program a good one. Miami is an emerging city and through time I think we are well positioned to build a stronger pipeline that retains and attracts talent.