In spring of 2020, as restaurants switched to curbside pickup and schools switched to virtual lessons, many companies wrote to the college students they’d hired for summer internships or co-ops to say there’d be no virtual version. The professional experience they were counting on to launch their careers was canceled.
Watching from the sidelines, Keegan Moldenhauer knew it was a heavy blow. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019 with a degree in engineering, and during college, he led a student organization called Insight Wisconsin, which brings together UW-Madison students to solve technical problems for local businesses.
Lying awake one night in spring 2020, he wondered if he could help fill the gap. “I hopped out of bed, jumped on LinkedIn and messaged the career services director at UW-Platteville. And I said, ‘Hey, I led a student org while I was at UW Madison that helped engineering students find their first resume experiences. Seeing all the students who are losing their internships, is there a way that I can help? I’d love to talk.’ I felt good about that and went back to bed,” Moldenhauer said.
“I got up in the morning, and she had responded. And I said, ‘Oh, crap. OK. Now we’ve got to build this thing.”
He teamed up with fellow engineering alum Ryan McKernan, and the two began designing Internship On Demand, an virtual “pre-internship” to help college students gain the skills and industry experience they’d need to succeed in their future careers. They launched the program with four students in June 2020 and ran a second cohort of seven students in January 2021, drawing participants from across the state and the globe.
Note: See also this D2P innovator profile of Internship on Demand director of business development Kit Chow.