Internships! Education Or Exploitation?

Should internships be paid? In the private sector it seems pretty obvious but the issue is working its way through the courts. The non-profit and government world is a more complicated question. It’s work, there is an inequality angle, but well structured internships can also be educational. Not straightforward. I take a look at all that in U.S. News & World Report today.

Washington’s cherry blossoms and spring break tourism just peaked. So the next onslaught of visitors to the nation’s capital is just around the corner – interns. Each summer, D.C.’s cadre of nonprofits, advocacy groups, Congress and various federal agencies welcome an army of summer interns seeking free work in exchange for experience. The resulting rite of passage is often fun and sometimes scandalous, but it’s presumed to be educational, too.

That supposed educational component is one reason unpaid internships persist. Otherwise it’s just work and should be paid like any other job.

In the private sector, internships operate under a set of requirements to differentiate them from actual paid work…

You can read it all here. We all know famous intern stories, but I’ve had some great ones who go on to do terrific things. There are occasionally great anonymous intern Twitter feeds. Share those and spare us the intern jokes but tweet me your intern stories @arotherham.

One Reply to “Internships! Education Or Exploitation?”

  1. Though at first internship is viewed as a great experience, very often after a week or two it turns out to be a real exploitation without any reward. I think that if you’re not paid, your motivation fades away.

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