This past spring, I was fortunate enough to work as a LGBT research and communications intern at the Center for American Progress. I was even more fortunate, however, to be compensated my time since many of my friends, who also worked Monday-Thursday, 9a-6pm, were not.
Now don’t get me wrong. I liked getting paid. But it seems to me that this is a growing problem that needs to be addressed, especially when so many of us take time off from school to gain “hands-on learning experience.”
In his piece entitled “Unpaid Internship, Complicit Colleges” Ross Perlin makes a rather compelling argument that unpaid internships, while not a scam per se, are in many respects not all they’re cracked up to be. He goes after a number of institutions, including colleges, universities and even the U.S. federal government.
What is most interesting to me, however, is the timing of the article since many college-aged students will be descending upon the nation’s capital in just two short months — myself included. It seems wrong for colleges and universities to be making so much money off their students. Tuition is one thing, but free labor is quite another. Perhaps Mr. Perlin’s article will make for great water cooler talking over the next two months. It certainly will make me think twice about whether to accept an unpaid internship — the White House obviously notwithstanding, Barack.