Following the nationwide shutdown in March due to COVID-19, hundreds of companies made the difficult choice to rescind in-person internship offers to college students. For students, internships and part-time summer positions provide essential stepping stones toward career development.
In response, The Hurt Hub ramped up its efforts to provide a short-term solution to Davidson students: Gig-Hub. Gig-Hub employs students as consultants with strengths in one of eight different skill pools, such as marketing or data analytics. After completing an orientation session–aptly named Gig-Hub 101–student consultants are matched with startups and companies with specific needs for short-term, paid jobs. In light of the internship shutdown, The Hurt Hub reported an increase in student demand for Gig-Hub projects.
Here are just a few examples of students and clients working together this summer through Gig-Hub:
Earlier this summer, Gig-Hub student Melanie McKenzie ‘21 designed animated infographics for TechChange, an online learning platform. “Most of the courses need graphic components like tables or animations…[so] lately…I’ve [developed] skills in graphic design on Adobe Illustrator,” she writes.
Brie Burrell ’23, another Gig-Hub consultant, worked for Elite Roofing—a residential and commercial roofing startup based at The Hurt Hub—last April. “I headed the design and execution of their logo and helped add color and font information to their brand guidelines,” Burrell writes, “[It] allowed me to add my own creative flair and create something that we both love!”
Mick Koster, co-owner of Elite Roofing, noted how Burrell’s work exemplifies how consultants help build growing startups. “She [Brie] is an extremely talented individual that led the design and execution of our new Elite logo…she worked with us on understanding our brand positioning and growth plans, and then developed a number of excellent designs and multiple iterations that did an excellent job of communicating our company’s key services and would allow us to expand into solar without going through an additional major, disruptive graphic design change.”
Burrell further mentioned her Gig-Hub work provided the opportunity to develop her graphic design skills: “I was able to learn a lot about brand development and that sometimes less is more…the experience allowed me to dive deeper into some of the “back-end” functions of the Adobe programs and broaden my knowledge.”
Beyond developing technical skills, McKenize also suggests Gig-Hub consultants receive essential exposure to the professional workplace, developing professional and interpersonal skills: “I also learned program manager skills…such as standardizing methods of communication [and] organiz[ing] meeting notes.”
McKenzie testified that the application process is “fast” and “super easy”: “Basically, you submit a resume [on Handshake]” followed with attendance at “Gig-Hub 101,” an orientation hosted by the Hurt Hub@Davidson where “you fill out your skills and preferences for which sorts of gigs you…want to work.” After that, “you apply for individual gigs with clients, which are also posted on Handshake…Usually they only require that you submit your resume…[but sometimes] includes an interview.”
McKenzie does raise a fair concern: initial tasks for Gig-Hub students are smaller, and it requires a sizable amount of time before transitioning into bigger projects. “My work is composed of many smaller tasks,” she notes, “[but] I’ve noticed that through this summer, I’ve been able to dive deeper into projects and scope out what needs to get done without needing a To-Do list beforehand. I feel like I’ve gained more autonomy over my work and that’s been really rewarding.”
Both McKenzie and Burrell noted, however, that Gig-Hub effectively connected students with startups and companies. “I feel that the process is mutually beneficial. Consultants get to gain experience with real clients in what feels like an ‘I am my own boss’ job, while startups/companies get services at a reduced rate,” Burrell says, “It’s another ode to the strength and support of the Davidson community during our stages of development and growth.” Whereas students have lost summer internship opportunities, Gig-Hub has provided Davidson students the opportunity to develop their technical and professional skills.
The Hurt Hub is currently accepting applications for Gig-Hub consultants. Interested students can find the application on Handshake.