Internships redux

Subject: Internships redux
From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 13:51:04 -0500

Someone wrote:
>John also belittles internships as being only a tool for filtering out
>certain segments of the population. In my experience (limited),
>internships have led to full-time jobs for the interns. Or, better
>yet, have been used by TC supervisors as a stepping stone to convince
>their management of the need for full-time staff additions. The
>internship is the *nose of the camel,* so to speak.

I certainly never said "only." It's "also." If you reread my post I think
you will see that I would be the first to acknowledge that internships *do*
lead to jobs for those interns--that's part of their function: the intern
works for free or a pittance for a while, and eventually they are offered a
full time position doing the same work for what seems like much more money,
making it look *very* attractive. Of course, the question is what the job
would pay if there weren't an army of folks willing to "intern" for nothing.

And yes, some college programs "try" to help find paid internships for their
students. But they should change the programs so that *unpaid* internships
are not counted for credit at all, eliminating the encouragement for
employers to exploit students. In other words, the rule for getting credit
for the internship should be that you have to have the experience *at the
prevailing rate that employer pays full-timers for that job* to get the credit.

This might require students to complete all their course work and then get
the job in the field before completing their requirements for the
diploma/certificate. But isn't that the point of a certificate anyway?
What does "internship" experience say when it may just mean "Someone was
willing to let me work there for free."

John Gear, catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com
The Bill of Rights -- The ORIGINAL Contract with America
Beware of Imitations. Accept No Substitutes. Insist on the Genuine Article


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