Are internships necessary? Should they be required? How long should they last? These are just some of the questions being asked by students, professors, employers and companies’ across the country. However, one of the more heated questions being discussed lately is - should they be paid?
As in any debate, there are two (if not more) sides to the argument. There are folks who argue that internships should always be paid, and folks who argue that payment is not necessary when valuable work experience is being attained.
In 2008, 50 percent of graduating students had held internships, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. That's a lot of students - thousands of students. Many experts estimate that up to one half of these interns are unpaid.
This means thousands of college students in the United States are working for free. In fact, if students decide to take internships in other states, away from their college, they actually und up paying to work. Plane tickets, food, housing - all of this money spent for an opportunity to work...for free.
Luke Sullivan, author of "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This" (a book I read a few semesters ago in an Advertising course - I highly recommend it), argues that "Interns should be paid. With money." In response to the argument no payment necessary if valuable work experience is gained, Sullivan responds,
Oh, bite me. If you really believe that, how about you and me, we’ll go out to the street right now, flag down a cab, and see if he’ll take us to the airport in exchange for some valuable on-the-job training.There are, however, those who indeed believe that the experience, the skills learned, and the opportunity to network are enough of a payment for student interns.
In the case of unpaid internships, according to federal legal criteria, there are six requirements which must be met in order for an internship to be unpaid.
Students, do your internships meet these requirements?
As a student who has completed several internships and plans to complete several more, I will remain neutral in this debate for now.
What do you think, should all internships be paid?
A post about a heated debate would not be complete without a Colbert clip.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Unpaid Internship Crackdown|