Any industry, job, company etc. has some sort of barrier to entry. They require a certain level of qualifications to even be considered for acceptance. These qualifications live in the form of degrees from Universities, Training Certifications, and oftentimes just time spent in that position or market. One of the most frustrating and discouraging things about the transition from becoming a student to finding a job is that line on the application that reads “Minimum of 2 years in a similar role.” How is one supposed to gain experience if in order to gain this experience you must first have experience… A question that hundreds of thousands of young adults are forced to figure out how to navigate, hopefully finding an opportunity or a person that is willing to embrace and benefit from their lack of experience, fresh perspective, and unique skill set.
Many of us have advanced due to a mentor, an entry level position that unlocked doors, or a company that saw something special in us and was willing to take a risk. But then, what happens when the position hasn’t existed before? What skills did we gain through our education that allowed us to explore ideas or roles that there wasn’t a clear path to? In what ways were we encouraged to go after something that didn’t scream job security and a 401k.
Of course, there was always that subset of students in college that pursued a degree in entrepreneurship. I’m sure they were encouraged and taught how to develop their own ideas and were educated in a way that fostered innovation. But what about companies, businesses, and industries that already exist. What is really needed is a generation of people that set out to fix existing infrastructures, while also working to create new ones.
What if, instead of encouraging youth to find a job that they enjoy and allows them to support themselves consistently, we train them to be effective in new technologies & industries that may not be a "standard" career now, but will be ten years from now. For example green building & sustainable business - both innovative markets that have yet to be fully explored and established. Rather than saving those niches for trained specialists or entrepreneurs, we need to widen the range of expertise by lowering the barriers to entry such as cost and unpredictability so the youth can lead the way and scale the impact.
I encourage anyone who is reading this to think about your industry or career. What are five ways that you can think of to make the market better, more efficient, sustainable & resilient. What if there were entry level roles, teams and departments that strived to design and implement these tactics on a regular basis. And what if we trained students how to do this? What would that look like? This is what we think it looks like:
Over the past few months, we have had two interns from the Lehigh University NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center. This is what they have to say about their experience.
“During the past few weeks working for ecomedes, I have learned that working in a Startup with a smaller sized team allows me to improve skills I have never had the opportunity to enhance. As a Industrial Systems Engineering and Finance student, there is not much time for me to sit down and grow in areas outside of those subjects. This internship has allowed me to develop and further grow practical skills such as photoshopping, video editing, marketing analytics, microsoft excel, and many more. At first I was worried about taking on tasks requiring me to use softwares and applications I had never used in depth before, however by the end it became something I was passionate to nail down. I learned that even if a task may seem insignificant at first, all the data I’ve analyzed, videos I have created, posts I’ve made for social media platforms, have been of use to the members in some fashion and helped the company progress. A perfect example of this is the video I made explaining ecomedes as a company and how to work its software.”
- Sheina Patel, Engineering & Marketing Intern
“Throughout the duration of this internship, I’ve learned a number of things about my own work ethic, and how to approach a variety of situations in the business environment. Ecomedes has given me the freedom to pursue goals which are not only meaningful to me, but beneficial to the growth of the company itself. The experience I’ve gained over these past seven weeks has been amazing, I’ve learned to collaborate more efficiently, the importance of time and scheduling, efficiency, and a plethora of technical knowledge. I’ve also gotten out of my comfort zone a bit by independently building a full-stack application which incorporates a huge number of independent data sources & APIs. This has taught me patience, determination, and has only enhanced my tendency to be intellectually curious. Ecomedes has provided the perfect structure for me to work most effectively, and the culture is geared for the current struggles which externally persist at this point in time. With the majority of the team working remotely, you can be sure that at any given point, something is going on, and great work is being done. The motivation of Ecomedes inspires everyone on the team to work harder, also. I’m tremendously excited with the work that I have done and I’m looking forward to the latter half of the internship!”
- Oliver Walsh, Computer Software Intern