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(USA Today)   Lawsuits are forcing more and more companies to end their slavery programs. Er, I'm sorry, did I slavery? I meant "unpaid internship." They're ending their unpaid internship programs   (usatoday.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, Society for Human Resource Management, course credits, Fox Searchlight, Harper's Bazaar, infomercials, class-action  
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1819 clicks; posted to Business » on 08 Mar 2012 at 9:39 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-03-08 08:37:06 AM  
Based on the batch of interns we have this spring, this is not bad news.

From the "nontraditional student" who considers any assignment a misogynistic assault with a thousand fiery penises to the hipster who punted a key assignment so he could finish his photo valentine to the office I'm relatively sure we'd be better off with a single retarded spider monkey force-fed six cases of NOS energy drink and set loose with a malfunctioning blowtorch.
 
2012-03-08 09:43:45 AM  
Because what college kids need more than ever is less opportunities to gain any real world experience. Good luck, kiddos.
 
2012-03-08 09:44:26 AM  
*fewer opportunities. Fewer, dammit.
 
2012-03-08 09:49:57 AM  
Oh yes, poor slaves, who willingly accept unpaid positions which they can walk away from at any time. I'm sure the cotton picking plantation workers who were hunted down and killed if they tried to leave understand their pain.
 
2012-03-08 09:52:20 AM  
It's interesting.

10 years ago, my university required internships to graduate.

Paid internships in the field. Not slave labor fetching coffee in hopes of building connections and maybe getting to do what you were supposed to do.

I find it interesting that folks think it's OK to essentially enforce slave labor doing unrelated work under the premise that it's an "opportunity."

This was a topic of discussion on Colbert a few days ago and it was pretty eye-opening on how much this practice has been expanding. And when you add in the geometric growth of the cost of a higher education, we're compounding the financial strain we're placing on the newest generation of college graduates...
 
2012-03-08 09:55:31 AM  
If your company can't afford to at least pony up minimum for your interns and yet make a profit off having them, there may be a flaw in your business model.

7.25 an hour * 40 hours a week * 16 weeks = 4640 dollars

That's assuming the kid shows up the 1st of May (not all colleges are out by then) and never takes a day off for four months.
 
2012-03-08 10:01:27 AM  
All American corporations should agree that starting on Jan 1 2013, ALL non-management positions will be converted to unpaid internships.

This will be good for the job creators, therefore good for America.
 
2012-03-08 10:03:46 AM  
fta: In a lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures last September

Fox again!? geesh. they are out of control.
 
2012-03-08 10:06:28 AM  

Mr. Coffee Nerves: Based on the batch of interns we have this spring, this is not bad news.

From the "nontraditional student" who considers any assignment a misogynistic assault with a thousand fiery penises to the hipster who punted a key assignment so he could finish his photo valentine to the office I'm relatively sure we'd be better off with a single retarded spider monkey force-fed six cases of NOS energy drink and set loose with a malfunctioning blowtorch.


My hero, and we're done.

The sad part is that unpaid internships used to be a collaboration between student and employer - employer promises to expose student to a variety of work-related activities, student promises to learn from them and provide some degree of value to the employer, although the net value should be to the intern's favor. Employer isn't supposed to treat the student like slave labor, and student isn't supposed to treat employer like recess. The benefit to the student is real-world exposure, while the benefit to the employer is a potential new prospect after graduation.

I've seen both sides of this mess - employers that treat students like indentured servants, forced to work off the perceived "debt" to the employer in return for that signature, and students gaily traipsing around screwing up the jobs of other, paid employees because they couldn't give a rat's rectum about the employer (or the internship, for that matter.)

If colleges didn't require unpaid internships to graduate, this problem would resolve itself. Now, there will be fewer unpaid internships, but even more students who need them to graduate, so I can't wait to see how this scarcity scenario resolves itself.
 
2012-03-08 10:16:16 AM  

FormlessOne: Mr. Coffee Nerves: Based on the batch of interns we have this spring, this is not bad news.

From the "nontraditional student" who considers any assignment a misogynistic assault with a thousand fiery penises to the hipster who punted a key assignment so he could finish his photo valentine to the office I'm relatively sure we'd be better off with a single retarded spider monkey force-fed six cases of NOS energy drink and set loose with a malfunctioning blowtorch.

My hero, and we're done.

The sad part is that unpaid internships used to be a collaboration between student and employer - employer promises to expose student to a variety of work-related activities, student promises to learn from them and provide some degree of value to the employer, although the net value should be to the intern's favor. Employer isn't supposed to treat the student like slave labor, and student isn't supposed to treat employer like recess. The benefit to the student is real-world exposure, while the benefit to the employer is a potential new prospect after graduation.

I've seen both sides of this mess - employers that treat students like indentured servants, forced to work off the perceived "debt" to the employer in return for that signature, and students gaily traipsing around screwing up the jobs of other, paid employees because they couldn't give a rat's rectum about the employer (or the internship, for that matter.)

If colleges didn't require unpaid internships to graduate, this problem would resolve itself. Now, there will be fewer unpaid internships, but even more students who need them to graduate, so I can't wait to see how this scarcity scenario resolves itself.


I had a Public Relations intern once who complained about writing press releases, I wrote 15 a day at the time and asked her to write 2 and then sit in on all the meetings to discuss strategy, it was a PR firm and those are the only 2 things we ever did. She complained that it wasn't real PR work. She was not happy when I told her it was since at the time there was no crisis.

/A day in the life at a low end PR firm Drink Coffee, Write Press Releases, Go To Meeting to Discuss Press Releases, rinse repeat for 9 hours a day 5 days a week. I lasted 9 months.
 
2012-03-08 10:16:29 AM  

Mr. Coffee Nerves: Based on the batch of interns we have this spring, this is not bad news.

From the "nontraditional student" who considers any assignment a misogynistic assault with a thousand fiery penises to the hipster who punted a key assignment so he could finish his photo valentine to the office I'm relatively sure we'd be better off with a single retarded spider monkey force-fed six cases of NOS energy drink and set loose with a malfunctioning blowtorch.


If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
 
2012-03-08 10:19:48 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: This will be good for the job creators, therefore good for America.


Don't worry, the wealth will trickle down. The less you get paid the better it is for you.
 
2012-03-08 10:20:15 AM  
Libtards should realize that, generally speaking, unpaid positions aren't replaced with paid positions, they are just done away with entirely.

Where I work we don't do interns very often, but there's a freaking line out the door asking for the opportunity.
 
2012-03-08 10:30:04 AM  
The biggest problem with an unpaid internship is that for.a student to pull one off, they generally need some sort of financial support from their families during this period. This limits the career opprutunities for anyone who is a working student, because they may not be able to afford to work 40 hours a week and not get paid for it. As a result, you have some well paying jobs where it is a lot harder for a poor or nontraditional student to get their foot in the door, compared to someone who lives at home with their middle or upper class family.
 
2012-03-08 10:31:35 AM  
So... Can't get a job if you don't have any experience and can't get any experience because you can't get a job goes one step further.
 
2012-03-08 10:35:51 AM  

mmm... pancake: Because what college kids need more than ever is less opportunities to gain any real world experience. Good luck, kiddos.


which somehow doesn't happen when they get a paycheck for their labor.
 
2012-03-08 10:48:21 AM  

Tom_Slick: I had a Public Relations intern once who complained about writing press releases, I wrote 15 a day at the time and asked her to write 2 and then sit in on all the meetings to discuss strategy, it was a PR firm and those are the only 2 things we ever did. She complained that it wasn't real PR work. She was not happy when I told her it was since at the time there was no crisis.


Yep - it's hilarious when we received CS interns at our dev shop and they discovered that writing code all day was, in fact, all we did. When asked to, well, write code, we had one intern get angry that they were forced to something so... menial. Friggin' hiliarious.

And it wasn't crucial code, either - a routine here, a routine there, to get them injected into what a production development lifecycle looks like. We'd ask them to shepherd their one routine through our company's process, and then "release" it. Most found this useful - they never had to defend a design before, or work with professional testers before - but we had a couple of "1337 haxx0r5" who thought they were above such things. They didn't last very long.
 
2012-03-08 10:49:03 AM  

Mad_Radhu: The biggest problem with an unpaid internship is that for.a student to pull one off, they generally need some sort of financial support from their families during this period. This limits the career opprutunities for anyone who is a working student, because they may not be able to afford to work 40 hours a week and not get paid for it. As a result, you have some well paying jobs where it is a lot harder for a poor or nontraditional student to get their foot in the door, compared to someone who lives at home with their middle or upper class family.


It's not only bad for poor students, but also rural students. My classmates went home to the big city during the summer, got unpaid internships and lived at home. I needed money and my mom lived in the middle of nowhere, so I drove to the only major shopping center in a hundred mile radius (thank god we weren't that far out) to work retail over the summer so I could pay for school. It didn't end up being a roadblock in my case, but unpaid internships are really terrible for a lot of types of students.
 
2012-03-08 10:56:24 AM  

ha-ha-guy: If your company can't afford to at least pony up minimum for your interns and yet make a profit off having them, there may be a flaw in your business model.

7.25 an hour * 40 hours a week * 16 weeks = 4640 dollars

That's assuming the kid shows up the 1st of May (not all colleges are out by then) and never takes a day off for four months.


But there are endless dumbasses lined up to work for free,which is great if you need dumbasses.
 
2012-03-08 10:58:05 AM  
This is a bad thing?

[Imokaywiththis.jpg]

FTA: But Michael Aitken of the Society for Human Resource Management says an overreaction by employers could doom legitimate internships. "That's a lost opportunity for students," he says.

No, it means when you have someone do work that you profit from and is not educational in nature, you've got to pay them - you cock.
 
2012-03-08 11:05:09 AM  
Of course, let's blame the victims. It's not as if corporations realized they could make even more money off of a vast unemployed segment of the population by employing them FOR FREE. They're the good guys here. The unpaid interns are in the wrong.
 
2012-03-08 11:10:40 AM  
What the defenders of unpaid internships are really saying is that certain professions should be open only to people from already-rich families. It's basically a justification for aristocracy.
 
2012-03-08 11:11:19 AM  
We had a great intern over winter break. He did a bunch of data analysis for us that we just didn't have the time for. He got to sit in design and management meetings that our long-term contractors don't even get access to.
 
2012-03-08 11:17:17 AM  
I don't think I'd ever take an unpaid internship; my time is worth something. On the other hand, taking the internship and then suing for pay is just total douche-baggery.

FormlessOne: Most found this useful - they never had to defend a design before, or work with professional testers before - but we had a couple of "1337 haxx0r5" who thought they were above such things. They didn't last very long.


There's nothing quite so annoying as a new hot-shot CS graduate undergoing their first peer review. That first one was always handled with kid gloves, but you could still clearly see the bruises on their ego. Listen, I don't need you to explain away every little bug and defend your poor code structure. Just shut up, take your lumps, and fix the code. And no, those comments are not adequate.

The good ones actually learned from the experience (which is, after all, the entire point) and you'd see dramatically increased code quality in each successive review. The bad one's just seemed to turn into bitter assholes.
 
2012-03-08 11:19:02 AM  
0.tqn.com

/There's always going to be a slave program
 
2012-03-08 11:24:36 AM  

Fish in a Barrel: I don't think I'd ever take an unpaid internship; my time is worth something. On the other hand, taking the internship and then suing for pay is just total douche-baggery.

FormlessOne: Most found this useful - they never had to defend a design before, or work with professional testers before - but we had a couple of "1337 haxx0r5" who thought they were above such things. They didn't last very long.

There's nothing quite so annoying as a new hot-shot CS graduate undergoing their first peer review. That first one was always handled with kid gloves, but you could still clearly see the bruises on their ego. Listen, I don't need you to explain away every little bug and defend your poor code structure. Just shut up, take your lumps, and fix the code. And no, those comments are not adequate.

The good ones actually learned from the experience (which is, after all, the entire point) and you'd see dramatically increased code quality in each successive review. The bad one's just seemed to turn into bitter assholes.


Eh I don't see a problem with suing if the internship was misrepresented. I did AmeriCorps (twice). While my first position went okay my second was complete BS. With AmeriCorps you do get paid (less than minimum wage) some but the idea is that you actually get some good experience that offsets the poor wages.

This wasn't the case with my second position. It was supposed to be a position where I would be helping run medical clinics/interacting with patients. Instead they made me spend most of my time going through old patient records to create grant reports, which was totally inappropriate for my type of position (it'd be okay if I was a VISTA, but they get paid more/have different rules). Needless to say after a while I quit and reported them to the national board. There was no way I was going to be paid less than minimum wage to do data entry all day.


So I guess the point is, I can see suing if something was completely misrepresented. In an unpaid internship you are supposed to be trading work for education. If you don't get that education, suing seems fine.
 
2012-03-08 11:27:30 AM  
This is why internships are more and more the domain of the wealthy. Poor people cant afford to work for free.
 
2012-03-08 11:31:47 AM  

Hack Patooey: We had a great intern over winter break. He did a bunch of data analysis for us that we just didn't have the time for. He got to sit in design and management meetings that our long-term contractors don't even get access to.


Was he paid? If he was not, congratulations your company was breaking the law.
 
2012-03-08 11:39:09 AM  
I had an "unpaid" intern work for me last summer. He got shadow us for a full on-boarding of a new client, got free lunch, we paid his travel expenses, and a large part of his responsibilities involved going to open bar parties and meeting people.

I don't feel bad.
 
2012-03-08 11:39:27 AM  

Brostorm: This is why internships are more and more the domain of the wealthy. Poor people cant afford to work for free.



1. I was far from wealthy and managed to get some internships, as did all of my middle class friends in college. It's called move in with your parents, aunt, grandma, friend, etc. for a few months while you intern. Plenty of not rich people have figured it out for generations now.

2. You don't have to be in the office every day. 2-3 days per week is typical for an internship. If you c

Most of the people you're interning for did exactly this when they were starting out, so the complaining is going to fall on deaf ears. Sorry.
 
2012-03-08 11:41:41 AM  

shower_in_my_socks: 1. I was far from wealthy and managed to get some internships, as did all of my middle class friends in college. It's called move in with your parents, aunt, grandma, friend, etc. for a few months while you intern. Plenty of not rich people have figured it out for generations now.


Fark cut me off, and I had more pearls of wisdom...

2. You don't have to be in the office every day. 2-3 days per week is typical for an internship. If you can swing it, you get two internships at once (maybe THAT'S what the rich kids do?). If you need the money, you get a job waiting tables or doing whatever you need to do to get by during those free 4-5 days per week that you aren't interning.
 
2012-03-08 11:43:20 AM  
A couple of years ago, the local free weekly paper was running a series of stories on ol' evil Wal-Mart, and how they didn't pay their new employees a "living wage." They kept talking about how the retail empire should pay a lot more, include all benefits, and pay for, well, everything.

In the issue with the final story in the series, I noticed a nice big quarter-page ad, asking for applications for a half-dozen unpaid intern positions at the paper...
 
2012-03-08 11:47:05 AM  
I learned a long time ago that you are paid what you are worth.

If you are paid nothing, you will be treated as nothing.

/paid internships for me
//a for-profit enterprise shouldn't need volunteers to function; if you cannot, GTFO of the business world
 
2012-03-08 11:49:08 AM  
There's an entire group of people who get to do the following:

Spend an entire school semester as an unpaid intern,
Not be allowed to hold another job during that time unless it worked around normal business hours AND wasn't anywhere near the internship,
PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE of being an unpaid intern by paying tuition at school,

AND

Be graded (and possibly not graduate because of said grade) for your performance in said internship at the end of the time.

Welcome to student teaching, Fark.

And when you're done with all that, you get to enter one of the most maligned professions in American culture at this point.
 
2012-03-08 11:52:19 AM  
1. Most of the work I've given interns over the years wasn't necessary. I was usually just giving them an assignment so they could learn something about our industry. Which is the whole point of an internship.

2. Most intern work is absolute crap. Terrible, make me worry for our future, crap. I'm sure a lot of mine was, too, when I was interning. Most of it is not worth paying for.

3. Every single person you're interning for has gone through this same process in their careers where they had to figure out how to get by without the income for a few months while they interned. You are not the first to "suffer" this "injustice" and, hopefully, you will not be the last.

4. If unpaid internships disappear, good luck getting your first entry level job after getting absolutely no experience in your chosen field while you were in school. My first job in my industry was a direct result of a company recognizing a place I had interned at before and hiring me on their recommendation. So internships DO pay - just not in the immediate, instant gratification sense of the word.

All of this is called paying your dues, and every single professional before you has done it, and not a single on of them is going to give a flying fark about your complaints.
 
2012-03-08 11:54:55 AM  

dumbobruni: a for-profit enterprise shouldn't need volunteers to function



I have never worked for a company that actually NEEDED interns. We still had them because A) it helps cultivate future workers in our industry, and B) it's always good to have a few extra folks on hand in case they're needed. But I have never heard of an enterprise that needed interns or they'd go out of business.
 
2012-03-08 11:59:49 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: All American corporations should agree that starting on Jan 1 2013, ALL non-management positions will be converted to unpaid internships.

 
2012-03-08 12:04:27 PM  
Internships can be a mixed bag. I'm currently doing an intrnship with a state agency and I have to say that this one is worth my time and money. (Believe it or not students actually have to PAY for the opportunity to work for free and get credit.) Its an opportunity to work somewhere where they don't hire entry level employees so I'm essentially getting a rich experience that is otherwise unobtainable for someone in my position until many years out in the field.

Although if they assigned me menial work or secretary work I'd be pissed because I'm paying to get experience. Although I'm not sure what I would do about it because at this point I need the credits to graduate. There would be no other way to make the credits up once all classes have begun. So I can definitely understand why people would feel like slaves if they were paying to doing work that wasn't substantive and had to complete the internship in order to graduate.

Now I have to say that I have seen job postings for "internships" that are traditionally lower paid positions in this field from private employers. They are low paid because they not for state agencies or nonprofits and the employer is profitting off of the work rather. So some employers were trying to take advantage of the poor economy and get people who are afraid to have gaps on their resume to work for free when they should be paying them. Personally, I'm not donating my time to a for profit enterprise and i find this offensive. But maybe someone else would jump at the opportunity.
 
2012-03-08 12:08:08 PM  
I get placement students each year from the same two university programs. The practicum placement (8 weeks, 40 hours/week) is actually a course they pay for during registration. They're treated like gold, given opportunities, make connections, build portfolios and leave with generally a great reference. They're not 'slave labour' in my or my company's opinions because they don't have the experience or developed skills needed to add anywhere near the value that an experienced employee can; they actually add to our workload as we're teaching them step by step.

And I'm not complaining - I went through the same system not too long ago. I also love investing time in helping students develop into hire-able employees.
 
2012-03-08 12:08:22 PM  

Menjo_Bleeko: There's an entire group of people who get to do the following:

Spend an entire school semester as an unpaid intern,
Not be allowed to hold another job during that time unless it worked around normal business hours AND wasn't anywhere near the internship,
PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE of being an unpaid intern by paying tuition at school,

AND

Be graded (and possibly not graduate because of said grade) for your performance in said internship at the end of the time.

Welcome to student teaching, Fark.

And when you're done with all that, you get to enter one of the most maligned professions in American culture at this point.


One of my MBA classes was a "team consulting" class, where the entire semester was working on a single consulting project for a client, with every group having a different project depending on what the client was looking for. The clients were local small businesses that were paying my school to participate in the program and hire a group of consultants. The students were paying tuition for the class. The professor had little work to do, other than assigning a final grade which was based largely on how happy the client was.
 
2012-03-08 12:19:36 PM  
Lousy bosses / companies will take advantage of and abuse intern programs.
Ethical bosses / companies will make the most of intern programs and interns.

There are good employers and bad employers in this world, and the bad ones rely on you to be either 1) deperate to stay for the money or 2) apathetic. If you are an intern for a bad employer, not only will you get abused, you are getting abused for free. Best to bail on them as quickly as you can.
 
2012-03-08 12:44:42 PM  
I work with CS interns nearly every day so I'm getting a kick...

Been with my most recent employer for about 4 months. So still kind of a new hire but in that limited time I've worked with a few interns. The weakest of them was dedicated, enthusiastic, and damn bright - just a bit too timid in sharing ideas or voicing disagreement, something he is improving on steadily.

Among the stronger interns, one graduated early and took a job working for Bill Gates (I call him Money for short) and another is taking over the world with the folks at Google.

I'm not sure what lobotomized hamster is making the hiring decisions at other places but that person needs to be fired.
 
2012-03-08 12:58:02 PM  

LordZorch: Libtards should realize that, generally speaking, unpaid positions aren't replaced with paid positions, they are just done away with entirely.

Where I work we don't do interns very often, but there's a freaking line out the door asking for the opportunity.


Between being introverted, emotionally unstable, bi-polar, incompetent, gay/bi/queer/transgendered/neutered, being discriminated against and made to pay for their own birth control and condoms, not having a Jesus or mo-man, having commodity job skills, having dropped out of high school, and being addicted to drugs, masturbation, and mom's basement, liberal people have enough personal problems as it is. They don't need you hurling insults at them jerkface.
 
2012-03-08 01:04:44 PM  
Sounds like this is a clash between cheap ass companies and greenhorn employees with access to a lawyer.

The pussification of America continues.
 
2012-03-08 01:27:24 PM  

Teenwolf: Menjo_Bleeko: There's an entire group of people who get to do the following:

Spend an entire school semester as an unpaid intern,
Not be allowed to hold another job during that time unless it worked around normal business hours AND wasn't anywhere near the internship,
PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE of being an unpaid intern by paying tuition at school,

AND

Be graded (and possibly not graduate because of said grade) for your performance in said internship at the end of the time.

Welcome to student teaching, Fark.

And when you're done with all that, you get to enter one of the most maligned professions in American culture at this point.

One of my MBA classes was a "team consulting" class, where the entire semester was working on a single consulting project for a client, with every group having a different project depending on what the client was looking for. The clients were local small businesses that were paying my school to participate in the program and hire a group of consultants. The students were paying tuition for the class. The professor had little work to do, other than assigning a final grade which was based largely on how happy the client was.


Difference is, of course, that you can be working on an MBA while working a full time job. My scenario details how to graduate with an undergraduate degree in education.
 
2012-03-08 01:27:31 PM  

shower_in_my_socks: dumbobruni: a for-profit enterprise shouldn't need volunteers to function


I have never worked for a company that actually NEEDED interns. We still had them because A) it helps cultivate future workers in our industry, and B) it's always good to have a few extra folks on hand in case they're needed. But I have never heard of an enterprise that needed interns or they'd go out of business.


but why make them work for free?

it gives them valuable work experience, but the work is shiat? WTF kind of logic is this?

you sound entitled. you think the work isn't worth much, so you shouldn't have to pay for it? tough shiat, go pound sand.
 
2012-03-08 02:24:52 PM  
I interned unpaid, worked 30 hours a week, and carried 18 credits my last semester.

The remaining few hours of my life were spent in the editing suite.

I was offered a job at the end of the internship, but had another offer.

My current employer brings in a couple of interns every year, unpaid, and usually offeres a full time position to atleast one of them.

dumbobruni: but why make them work for free?

it gives them valuable work experience, but the work is shiat? WTF kind of logic is this?


How about this logic:

You're working here for credits to graduate. So I have to pay you to train and learn my company so that in 8 weeks you'll be gone.

I don't think so.
 
2012-03-08 02:28:41 PM  

dumbobruni: but why make them work for free?


Because they're not "working" and they're not doing for free.

First, most companies do not give interns mission-critical projects, or really let them do unsupervised work on any client-side projects that directly add to the bottom line. The projects and work interns get assigned generally falls into one of two categories: a) stuff that will help them better understand what actually happens in their profession of choice (i.e. doing research, filing and reporting on work completed, etc. The grunt work that all paid employees have to do that they never teach you about in school) or b) Misc. little chores that are nice to have done but that aren't really necessary (this is the occasional coffee run, etc. Someone else would have probably handled it if the intern wasn't there, and it's not the only thing that an intern does). Companies that DO make interns work on direct revenue drivers are simply unethical companies. This has nothing to do paid or unpaid internships, these are just bad companies that treat their paid employees like shiat too.

Second, I have a big issue with the claim that these people work for "free". They don't. They earn valuable experience, get to see what people in their field do on a daily basis, get to interact with professionals doing what they want to be doing and learn, and are supposed to learn from the program. Compare this to apprenticeships with a lot of unions, where you usually have to pay a significant fee to take classes and learn the same thing you would in an unpaid internship. More importantly, the "cost" of an internship is recouped within the first couple of months of graduating and getting a "real" job. Someone above calculated that paying an intern minimum wage for 4 months of work would come out to less than $5000. A decent internship will let you negotiate a much higher starting salary, to the point where that $5000 you "lost" is back in your pocket within half a year.

The other thing people forget is that taking on an intern is not "free work" for the company, Interns cost a lot of time, energy, resources, and money to maintain. Having to take an hour or 2 out of my day every day to monitor, mentor, and follow up on an intern costs me over a grand a week, because believe me I can spend 10 hours doing something much more productive than explaining basic concepts to a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 20-something for the 500th time.

I still take on interns, and I still pay them a total salary of $0.00 an hour and it still costs me thousands every summer. I do it because it's difficult to break into my field, and I like helping people out. Every intern I've ever had has gone on to work in our field in positions they would not have been able to get without the internship, and commanding a significantly better salary than they could get with no experience, and with a much faster rate of promotion since they come out of a summer with me with an in-depth of not only the theory they get taught in school, but also the processes and skills that they need to be successful in our field.

I don't pay them because I would not hire any one of my interns if they applied, especially since I don't have entry level positions, because they simply have no idea what they're doing. I think a lot of companies are in similar positions. I also don't like the idea of them thinking of their internship as a job. It's not. It's a learning opportunity, and one they would have to pay much more dearly for if they hired a coach/tutor/consultant to teach them. Hell, they pay much more than the lost $5k per semester in tuition, and that's not even close to the kind of real-world, one-on-one mentoring they get with an internship.

So yes, they are unpaid, but they aren't working for nothing.
 
2012-03-08 02:30:14 PM  

MugzyBrown: You're working here for credits to graduate. So I have to pay you to train and learn my company so that in 8 weeks you'll be gone.


This too. Turnover is expensive. Having interns is like hiring people knowing they'll quit for a better job in a couple of months AND those people have no practical experience.
 
2012-03-08 03:36:29 PM  

The_Homeless_Guy: So I guess the point is, I can see suing if something was completely misrepresented. In an unpaid internship you are supposed to be trading work for education. If you don't get that education, suing seems fine.


Can't argue with that - that's kind of the expectation for an unpaid internship, in that the intern is supposed to be receiving a net benefit of experience, exposure, and networking, in return for providing some value to the employer. It's meant to be collaborative. If the employer screws over an intern, that's just as bad, if not more so, than an intern screwing over an employer - the employer's supposed to be setting an example for the intern, after all.
 
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