Missed this New York Times article last summer, despite the fact that it was written by a former students of mine.

But as many as half of all [summer] internships are unpaid or low-paid, career counselors say. Some students even effectively end up paying tuition to do unpaid internships because some companies, concerned about labor laws, require students to receive academic credit for the experience. And so college administrators nationwide have become more concerned about access to internships at all socioeconomic levels. The solution, they say, is to provide financial assistance.

In some fields — arts, fashion, the media and nonprofit and government work — unpaid internships are often a gateway to an entry-level position, said John Noble, director of career counseling at Williams College, which also has a program. ”We want to make these career fields accessible to a diverse student population,” he said.

Williams College has increased its stipend program to 120 grants this summer, up from 12. Williams, Princeton, Duke and the University of Pennsylvania will exempt students on financial aid from some of their summer-earning obligations.

A $1,320 grant from Williams College allowed Aaron Mieszczanski, who will be a junior in the fall, to take an unpaid internship with Lawyers for Children, a New York City nonprofit group that provides legal representation for foster children. Otherwise he would have spent his summer working as a lifeguard.

”It allowed me a lot of flexibility to look at nonprofits,” said Mr. Mieszczanski, who is from the Bronx. ”I could gear myself towards looking at a good experience rather than trying to make money.”

Trying to make money is, indeed, overrated. Perhaps I need a blogging internship of some type . . .

Print  •  Email