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The Center on Finance, Law & Policy at the University of Michigan is a Ford School-based research center that, among other things, operates a year-round small business service program called the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, and facilitates multi-disciplinary research projects across U-M schools.

Through a partnership with Poverty Solutions, the School of Information, the Ford School, and community development organization Jefferson East, Inc., and with funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Center is unexpectedly seeking one University of Michigan undergraduate student to work as a Community Tech Worker for the 11 month period beginning immediately. Students will receive training and support from faculty members Kristin Seefeldt (Ford/SSW), Tawanna Dillahunt (Information/CoE), and Julie Hui (Information), as well as professional staff from the Center and from Jefferson East, Inc.

In addition to gaining experience, students will receive mentoring and ongoing professional development opportunities as part of the Center on Finance, Law & Policy’s annual cohort of research assistants.

Job Description:
Detroit small businesses and entrepreneurs are key to economic and employment in the city; however, some face technology-related challenges that prevent them from thriving. To alleviate these challenges and help these businesses thrive, we are looking to train and hire a University of Michigan student who is paired with a Detroit resident to provide one-on-one technology support to Detroit entrepreneurs.

We are looking for individuals who are passionate about supporting local businesses and who have had experience providing technical support. Whether you have provided digital or technical support to your close friends and family, or to small businesses, we would love to see your application.

This position is excellent for students interested in small businesses, economic development, public policy, or information technology. Students will gain experience working in Detroit, and learn more about community development, Detroit history, and the needs of local businesses, and especially minority-owned businesses. This position will fulfill most internship requirements, and provide guaranteed hours throughout the summer and semesters. Details about the project are posted on the Center’s website.

Key Responsibilities
● Phone and in-person contacts with businesses to diagnose or work through technical challenges;
● Helps drive a positive customer experience by building relationships, exhibiting empathy, and providing solutions to their needs;
● Diagnoses and troubleshoots products for repair;
● Documents repair work and client communication for each unit.
Qualifications and personal characteristics
● Previous experience actively using and learning about technology products;
● Tolerance to ambiguity and uncertainty;
● Comfortable in a startup environment;
● Good teamwork and organizational skills, attention to detail, and strong work ethic;
● Great interpersonal and communication skills (oral and written);
● Willingness to tackle difficult problems;
● Patience and empathy;
● Ability to build rapport and trust;
● Resourceful;
● Flexible with critical and creative thinking skills.
Preferred Qualifications
● Business website creation and ability to update items online (e.g., Wix, Squarespace, Shopfy, Wordpress, Google maps, Yelp, etc.)
● Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
● Content editing (pdf, video, graphics)
● Open to currently-enrolled University of Michigan undergraduate students
● Able to commit to 30-40 hours/week in June-August, then 10-12 hours per week during the school year
● Have reliable transportation to get to the Jefferson East, Inc.’s resource center, located at 14300 E. Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48215 each day in the historic Kresge building throughout the summer. This is a full-time, in-person position over the summer.

Pay: $15/hour

To apply, students should email a resume and cover letter to Angela Nicoloff at In the cover letter, please elaborate on why you would be a good fit for this position, and share any relevant experience you have had.  Please contact Aaron Jackson at for more information about the program. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
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